Friday, May 16, 2008

Wilted Silverbeet Salad with Avocado Dressing

Yesterday was my day off, and it was a gorgeously sunny, cool autumn day. As rain had been forcast for the next few days, I felt the need to take advantage of the sunshine, and a drive to the Adelaide Hills was in order. After a rejuvenating hike and drive through gorgeous foliage, we stopped at the Stirling Organic Market and Cafe, which I had been meaning to visit for some time. I walked through the Cafe, which looked lovely, but my attention was focused on the Market. It was a nicely presented little collection of certified organic food products, fresh produce, wines and self-care products. If I lived in the area - and oh, how I wish I lived in the area, this is beautiful country just a 20 minute drive from the center of Adelaide - I would definitely shop here frequently.

One of my purchases was an absolutely massive bunch of silverbeet, a leafy green similar to spinach. I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it, as I'd been eying the beautiful Wilted Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing created by Russell James at The Raw Chef Blog for some time. Russell is a true master of gourmet raw food preparation. More than a chef, Russell is an artist of flavor, color, texture and composition.

My version differs from Russell, as certain ingredients that he uses are hard to find in Adelaide. Here's my take on this hearty, warming winter dish (serves 2).

Wilted Silverbeet Salad with Avocado Dressing
1/2 large bunch of silverbeet, or 1 small bunch
1 tsp himalayan salt
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, minced
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 soft avocado
1 Tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp agave
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoky paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp tamari

Remove the stems from the silverbeet and chop roughly. Add the salt and massage into the greens for about 1 minute. Really get your hands in the there! The silverbeet will literally transform in texture, wilting to resemble cooked spinach.

Once your silverbeet has wilted, add the chopped tomatoes, red onion, and pumpkin seeds.

Peel and pit the avocado, then place it in a food processor along with the olive oil, lemon juice, agave, spices and tamari. Blend until you achieve a thick, uniform, creamy sauce. You may need to add more olive oil or lemon juice depending on how soft your avocado is and your taste.

Toss the dressing with the spinach mixture. Eat right away, or let marinate for a few hours or overnight for the flavors to develop.

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