A dinner party of bold, salty tapas (Spanish-style small plates) gains an element of freshness from this slightly sweet, crunchy salad, created for us by chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco. You'll have a bit of leftover vinaigrette for your next salad.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup toasted almonds, divided
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 1/2 ounces wild arugula
1/2 small turnip, peeled and shaved on a handheld slicer
1/2 Bosc pear, cored and quartered but unpeeled, shaved on a handheld slicer
Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan until it browns and begins to smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
In a blender, process dates, 1/4 cup almonds, and the vinegar to a coarse paste. Drizzle in browned butter, oil, 1/2 cup water, the salt, and pepper. Blend in 1 to 2 tbsp. more water if needed to thin.
Chop remaining 1/4 cup almonds. Put arugula, turnip, pear, and most of almonds and manchego in a serving bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if you like. Top with remaining cheese and almonds.