A Favorite Salad

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This salad is a favorite in our house. I make this salad as a main course alongside a loaf of bread throughout the year swapping out the veggies for what is in season. Last night I made this salad with local zucchini, yellow peppers and cherry tomatoes, which are summer veggies still lingering at the market, as well as, fennel, carrots and shallots. Most often I drizzle over good olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of vinegar for the dressing, but this time I made a small amount of my Simple Vinaigrette (recipe below).

Simple Vinaigrette

Dressing to serve salad for 4

1/2-1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon mustard (any type)
pinch of salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or vinegar or a combination
2 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, combine the minced shallots, mustard, salt, pepper and lemon juice. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the rest of the ingredients. Let the dressing sit for at least 20 minutes. This dressing can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator, but the flavor of the onion will become more pronounced. I prefer to use the dressing the day it is made.

Roasted Veggie and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves 2 meal portions or 4 side portions

I make this household favorite all year long with whatever veggies are in season. I add corn in the summer and root veggies in the winter.

1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion or shallot, sliced into 1/3 inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 zucchini, cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 bunch fresh baby arugula or mixed greens, (6-8 cups) washed
olive oil
lemon juice
white wine vinegar
3 ounces goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the sliced peppers, onion, fennel, eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Gently toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. (I prefer to keep each type of vegetable to its own area of the pan, enabling me to remove the vegetables that cook more quickly than the others.) Roast the vegetables for 20-40 minutes, or until soft and slightly caramelized. The eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomatoes tend to take less time, about 20 minutes, and the peppers, onion and fennel tend to take more time, about 40 minutes. Remove each type of vegetable from the oven as needed. The vegetables are best served at room temperature or slightly warm. They can be made a few hours ahead of time and kept at room temperature until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, place the arugula or mixed greens in a salad bowl. Drizzle over olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar, salt and pepper or a light amount of your favorite vinaigrette and toss together. The measurements do not need to be exact. Serve greens in individual bowls and top with the warm veggies and some of the crumbled goat cheese. Serve immediately.


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