Spinach Purse Salad Recipe
This salad has all the elements I look for in a meal. It's sweet and savory with a lot of crunch, protein and a little bit of decadence. The butter lettuce, sugar snap peas, corn, fresh mangoes, Persian cucumbers and shredded carrots form the base of the salad. This combination with a little bit of dressing would be a great first course.
But to this I also added nuts and the pièce de résistance: crispy spinach purses that I formed with wontons. I filled the purses with spinach, a bit of mascarpone and mozzarella for creaminess and lentils for added protein. They can also be served on their own as appetizers.
Yields: 8 servings1 (16-ounce) package wonton wrappers
½ cup vegetable oil, as needed
1 tablespoon toor dal (or any lentils)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ teaspoon red chili powder
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (6-ounce) fresh mozzarella ball, diced
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly shaved
2 cups butter lettuce, shredded
2 cups Romaine hearts, shredded
½ fresh mango, peeled, pitted and diced
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
½ cup sugar snap peas, boiled
¼ cup frozen corn, boiled
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup your favorite salad dressing
¼ cup honey roasted peanuts, halved
Cooking the toor dal:
Wash the toor dal, discarding any floating or odd-shaped grains. Wash and rinse thoroughly in several water baths. Place them in a small pot and add red chili powder. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add water to cover the grains entirely. Bring to a boil then lower to a gentle simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the lentils and they'll be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if necessary. Let cool.
For the spinach filling:
In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes until slightly golden. Add the spinach. Toss well. As soon as the leaves are wilted, transfer to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add the toor dal, mascarpone cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Making the spinach purses: Place a wonton wrapper on the working space. Place a small mound of spinach (about 2 teaspoons) in the middle of the wonton. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and moisten around the edge of the wonton wrapper. Gather the 4 tips of the wonton and press each touching seam against the other firmly, forming a pyramid. Place the purses onto a platter lined with parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator if preparing in advance.
Frying the spinach purses:
Put a cooling rack lined with paper towels on a cookie sheet.
Heat the vegetable oil (as much oil as needed) in a small fryer. Place the purses one at a time in the hot oil; cook up to 3 purses per batch.
Fry in batches. Make sure the fritters don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2 minutes per batch. The fritters will start to pop and turn a golden color. A portion of the spinach filling might ooze from the top. Using a spider skimmer, lift the appetizer adn transfer to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the appetizers.
Layer the lettuce and vegetable onto a large serving platter. Once the fried wontons have cooled, place them on top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper. Top with honey roasted peanuts and serve immediately.
This recipe yields exactly 44 purses.
Toor dal (also known as "split pigeon peas") can be found in any Asian or Indian stores. You could use other lentils or simply omit this ingredient.
Published By: on March 28, 2013.