You may notice that this recipe calls for a “bag” of pre-washed spinach and a bottled salad dressing. Some may say that this is cheating. I say, work smarter, not harder. Why hand wash your own spinach when you can buy it done for you? And could I recreate the salad dressing on my own? Of course I could, but why? It’s delicious just as it is, and saves me an extra hour of prep time, not to mention the cost of the ingredients, that would, in the end, cost more than the bottle of dressing does.
So, as we go along, you’ll notice that some of my recipes are semi-homemade, meaning I use a store-bought item. When I find an ingredient or component of a recipe that is just as good as something I could create on my own, and cuts down on time for me, I use it! Yes I do! Why fight it? Good food is good food. And I promise not to steer you wrong!
Apple Spinach Salad with Candied Spicy Walnuts
- 1 bag pre washed baby spinach
- 1/2 honey crisp apple, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup currants
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 cup candied spiced honey walnuts (see recipe below)
- Briana’s bottled salad dressing (the one with the strwaberry on the front), to taste
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 2 cups walnut halves
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Combine 2 cups water, sugar, and cayenne in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and occasionally brushing down sides of pan with pastry brush dipped into water. Add walnuts to pan; reduce heat to medium and cook until syrup boils and bubbles thickly and vigorously and nuts are very sticky, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour enough vegetable oil into heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 4 inches; heat vegetable oil to 350°F. Drain walnuts, discarding syrup. Working in batches and using slotted spoon, transfer walnuts to hot oil and cook until well browned, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer walnuts to rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; cool completely. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)