Melted feta on tomatoes and spinach

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This is a truly scrumptious salad, where hot oil is poured over feta cheese, which in turn melts to drizzle the tomatoes and spinach with moist and oily juices, which then create their own dressing.

1 In a large salad bowl, gently toss together the spinach, olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and shallot. Layer the tomatoes on top of the salad, and crumble the feta on top.

2 Heat the olive oil in a small heavy pan until quite hot, then drizzle carefully over the salad. Sprinkle with the vinegar and season with a good grinding of black pepper. Serve at once, topped with the croutons (if using) or accompanied by some garlicky country-style bread.

A word of warning: To avoid splattering, make sure the ingredients are dry before adding the oil. Spin-dry the spinach well; once you have added the tomatoes to the salad, you may need to pat them dry with paper towels before pouring in the oil. If you are worried about pouring the oil directly into your salad bowl, use a wok instead.

Serves 4 as a starter Prep time: 15 minutes

21/2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried 12 oil-packed kalamata olives, pitted 1 tbsp capers in brine, rinsed, drained, and gently squeezed dry 8 sun-dried tomato halves packed in olive oil, coarsely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, about 550g (1^Alb), sliced

4oz (100g) feta cheese 1k cup olive oil 2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar freshly ground black pepper garlic croutons, to serve (optional) (p152)

Stupice (p27)

Works well with

Beefsteak (pp52-63) Standard globe (pp22-35) Plum (pp64-73)

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