Winter food is so heavy and rich that we're often longing for a good salad right about now. The stews, soups, and braises that are so good can also crowd out green vegetables.
If you can find local greenhouse greens like arugula or spinach, go for it! This salad takes advantage of some local baby greens we found, as well as winter staples like dried fruit and walnuts. Trader Joe's dried peaches are thick and meaty, and when they are simmered in a little juice and wine they become tender and juicy.
Try this with pecans and blue cheese, too - or with other poached dried fruit. It's green, tender, sweet and delicious.
Spinach, Peach and Walnut Salad
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup red wine
4 dried peaches, cut into bite-sized slivers
About 6 cups washed baby spinach or arugula
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 ounce soft, mild goat cheese
Bring the orange juice and red wine to a boil and simmer the peach slivers until soft and plump - at least 15 minutes. The red wine mixture should also reduce considerably.
Toss the spinach with the toasted walnuts and scallions.
Remove the peaches from the wine mixture, drain, and toss with the salad. Make sure the wine has reduced at least by half - if not, let it simmer a little while longer. Whisk with the olive oil and vinegar and taste. Pour over the salad and toss with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide among four bowls, crumble a little cheese over top, and serve.