Friday, February 18, 2011

My Favorite "Fancy" Salad



As I mentioned in my post about the Easy Candied Walnuts, I adore a well made salad. I love starting my meal with it or making a meal of it (especially in the summer time), but there are certain requirements, that are important to make a salad go from decent to showstopper. 

First off, only choose the highest quality ingredients, trust me, it really makes a HUGE difference in taste. Iceberg lettuce is a big no-no in our house. The only place for it in my opinion is the inside of a taco. It is pretty much tasteless to me and I don't waste my time with it. I love red-leaf lettuce since it so readily available year round, but assorted spring greens (if I can get organic) are just as lovely of an option. Another must, flavorful tomatoes. Again, unless it is prime tomato season and I can get my hand on locally grown, juicy tomatoes, I stay away from adding them to my salads. In that case, I go with a consistent tasting grape or cherry tomato, those usually do not disappoint. Another important ingredient in my salad is onions. I love the taste of red onion, but scallions will do in a pinch as well.
A good salad dressing is also a must, and I always prefer homemade over store bought. I was raised on vinaigrette style dressing, which is what I still prefer to this day. Just keep in mind that less is more in terms of dressing and a little drizzle is usually all you need. Your toppings are what take an ordinary salad to extraordinary height and your options to customize are endless. I tend to go with a mix of cheese (I love a soft goat or blue cheese, which works with most greens and fruit), dried or fresh fruit (depending on the season), and last but not least, a little crunch from some nuts or seeds.

Today's version is one I've been making over and over and my family just can't enough of it. The combination of sweet, tart, crunchy and smooth is one that works every time. It starts with red-leaf lettuce, grape tomato and red onion. A homemade pomegranate-balsamic vinaigrette (recipe to follow) along with dried cherries, goat cheese (I love the Pampered Goat cheese, which I find at my local Costco) and candied walnuts round out this amazing flavor combination. I happen to think that it does not just taste wonderful, but is equally stunning to look at. The recipe is not really a recipe, look at it as as guideline and you'll be the judge of how much you add of each of the ingredients. If you like a good tasting salad, I hope you'll give this one a try and it turns into one of your favorites as well!



My Favorite "Fancy" Salad
(A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original)

Ingredients:

1 head red leaf lettuce or assorted mixed greens, cleaned
Red Onion, finely sliced
Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinaigrette (Recipe to follow)
Dried Cherries
Soft Goat Cheese

Preparation:

Arrange lettuce on plates, add the red onion and tomatoes. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, making sure not to soak the greens, a little goes a long way. Top the salad with cherries, goat cheese and the candied walnuts. Serve immediately.



Pomegranate-Balsamic Vinaigrette
(A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Whisk all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until combined.

22 comments:

  1. I agree with everything you say about a well made salad and have talked about it on my blog as well. We love having salads as our meal. That is sure one beautiful looking salad with gorgeous photos to showcase it.

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  2. Greens and goat cheese, a match made in heaven! And your dressing sounds fantastic!

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  3. I love salad too and yours is beautiful! What pretty pictures too! Yum!

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  4. Oh my goodness, no wonder this is your favorite salad..looks stunning and so so tasty!!!!

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  5. I could eat this one every, single day!! It looks amazing, Susi!

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  6. This is a gorgeous salad. Its colors are so apealing, that I could eat this every day. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  7. Susi, that looks absolutely wonderful! I did a presentation this morning on "healthy cooking" and I stressed the importance of making your meals looks amazing, full of color and different textures, all of which equate to great taste and nutrition! And you hit it right on the nail with your version of the best "fancy" salad! :-p I'm a huge goat cheese and candied walnuts fan, too. Yum!!

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  8. sweet cherry tomatoes, greens and goat cheese - no wonder why this is your favorite salad, the match is delicious.
    love the idea of candied walnuts, have to give them a try. Thanks for sharing, hope you'll have a wonderful weekend

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  9. First of all, what an amazing photo. Great job! Second, this sounds wonderful.

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  10. You covered all the elements I need in my salad in order for it to satisfy me! I need crunch, a touch of sweetness and some tanginess. Your salad is gorgeous Susi! Love the sound of the dressing too.

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  11. What a beautiful salad, and I'm with you on the iceberg lettuce.

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  12. Gorgeous salad!My new favorite fancy salad too! I like your candied walnuts and have to try them.The cherries look so good in this;)

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  13. The only problem with those darn candied walnuts is that I know they are just sitting there in the pantry waiting to be used (eaten) and I pop in a few times a day to taste them. Before I know it, they are gone!
    Love the salad... I don't really like making salads (or sandwiches...) but I do love eating them. I have greens in my fridge that really need to be used. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  14. Gorgeously colorful salad! I am always a fan of candied nuts and goat cheese on anything:-)

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  15. Very delicious salad Susi and your photos are lovely.

    I made the candied walnuts, they were delicious. Now I'll have to make your salad, but I'll need to make more walnuts first. : ).

    Thanks for sharing,
    Joanne

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  16. That is a gorgeous salad, indeed. I agree about iceberg lettuce, it's like water, what's the point???

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  17. I love salad that has lots of different textures, it definitely makes a difference:) I'm bookmarking this one....and that pomegranate dressing is genius!

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  18. You absolutely hit the nail on the head, Susi! Perfect salad in my book.

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  19. There is NOTHING like a good fresh salad!!! Thanks for sharing this one!

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  20. This looks delicious :) I love easy, fancy salads like this one for lunch :)

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  21. I could eat dried cherries by the fist-full! this looks delicious. :)

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  22. This seems like a winner salad. The combination of sweet and salty...the variety of vegetables and textures...and the vibrant colors make this salad perfect in my book! Thank you for sharing tonight! I hope you have a great Monday, my friend.

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