Lazy Mondays: Spinach Salad with Sunflower Seeds, Dried Currants and Maple Tahini Dressing, Served with Buckwheat Crepes
Difficulty Level: The salad is simple to toss together, the pancakes take more time.
Notes: This one looks pretty weird, but trust me, it is a great Winter meal. I never intended this recipe to be a taco, but it was the best way to eat it in the end.
I receive a weekly box of grocery items from Quinciple, a subscription service that provides a wider variety of edibles than your average CSA program. I like to do this in the Winter; it forces me to be creative and to avoid the repetitive doldrums of roasted root vegetables week after frigid week. An added perk of the service is the inclusion of some pretty creative recipes that utilize the produce and pantry items of the week.
In this particular box, I had received a bag of organic buckwheat flour, some winter spinach and green garlic. What I really craved for lunch was a stack of pancakes with maple syrup and a baked banana. But, still warding off the onset of Gout from my trip to TN, I figured I better toss some greens in there for good measure. I used the Quinciple recipe for Buckwheat crepes (with some minor tweaks), and threw together the simple salad with maple dressing to go with it.
This salad was a nod to one I had last summer in Vermont. It had a sweet, creamy, tahini dressing, atop massaged, hearty dark greens. You can really taste the maple syrup in the dressing, an ingredient whose finer points I exhausted when we pulled off the side of a rural Vermont road, and found ourselves shopping for jugs of syrup in a local woman’s linen closet. She had everything from Grade AA (extra light, almost like agave) to Dark Amber Grade D, my preference. The grading system is counterintuitive — the lesser grade being the least refined and the more flavorful, and the “fancy” Grade A syrup having little flavor. For dressing, we want to highlight the maple flavor, not just the sugary sweetness.
The dried currants are a wonderful surprise, not as sweet as a raisin and far more delicate. They can be tough to find, surprisingly, so check for these at your local specialty food store.
- 1/4 cup All purpose flour
- 1/4 Buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy, I used almond milk)
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk
- 2 tbs melted coconut oil or butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 green garlic or green onion, minced
- 1 lb winter spinach or lacinto kale
- 1/3 cup dried black currants
-1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 heaping tbs of tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbs buttermilk
- 2 tbs walnut oil (use olive oil if you don’t have walnut oil)
- 4-5 tbs water
- 1 shallot, minced
To make the crepes:
Combine the eggs, milk, buttermilk, flours, two tablespoons of melted butter and a 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Heat a skillet over medium heat. The pan is ready when a few drops of water bounce and sizzle on the surface. Add a small bit of butter to the pan and swirl it around. Pour some batter in the pan – a bit less than a 1⁄4 cup. Tilt the pan to swirl the batter about, it should make a nice circle, about 6” in diameter. Once the top of the crepe has just set, run a spatula under the edges and flip it over. Cook until just browned. Set on a plate or cookie sheet. You can keep the crepes warm in a 200 degree oven.
To make salad:
Wash and spin your greens. If using spinach, be careful to wash multiple times, it will be grittier than most greens. Rip into bite size pieces, removing the tough ends of the stalks if there are any.
Toast sunflower seeds in a skillet on medium low heat, make sure not to let them burn.
In a blender, combine all ingredients for the dressing except for the water and the oil. While the dressing is blending on low, add oil, and add water 1 tbs at a time, until the dressing is pourable.
Toss with greens, top with currants and nuts and minced shallot, and serve alongside the buckwheat crepes.