Spinach salad with apple, sun-dried cherries and persimmon

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2 Tbsp. olive oil
12 ea. sage leaves, chopped finely
To taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices country white bread, cut in ½ inch cubes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
¼ lb baby spinach
1 recipe apple cider vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 large apple, cut in 12 wedges
½ cup sun-dried cherries, cut in half
2 ea. fuyu persimmons, peeled, each cut in 12 wedges

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the olive oil and sage in a mixing bowl; season with a little salt and pepper and whisk. Toss the bread with the oil-sage mixture and place on a baking sheet; toast in the oven until golden brown. Transfer croutons to another container and spread out the pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven until fragrant and puffed; about 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle with a little salt while they are still warm; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the spinach with some of the Apple Cider Vinaigrette and a few grains of salt; add the croutons and toss again. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

3. In the same mixing bowl, combine the apple, sun-dried cherries and persimmon. Drizzle with a little more of the vinaigrette and toss well. Taste and season if necessary. Arrange on top of the spinach.

4. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Yield: approx. 1/3  cup

1 small Shallot, chopped
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
To taste kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine shallot, mustard and vinegar in a mixing bowl, mix well. Whisk in the oil & taste for seasoning.

Yield: 4 servings