Spring Fling Salad

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Instead of serving the same old green salad for dinner, try sprucing things up a bit by adding some of your favorite gourmet ingredients. A few nights back I added sliced local strawberries, tangy crumbled goat cheese, fresh cracked walnuts and sweet chewy craisins atop local baby greens for a satisfying side salad. I thought I would share my "recipe," if you want to call it that, for my Four Seasons salad that can be made with your own favorite ingredients throughout the seasons.

Four Seasons Green Salad

Serves 6

I use this same salad “template” throughout the year, combining the season’s fresh fruit with a complimenting cheese, a handful of crunchy nuts and chewy dried fruit for a contrast of flavors and textures. This salad is elegant enough to serve at a holiday dinner, yet easy enough to make for myself at lunch.
Below is the recipe for the Autumn Harvest Salad, as well as, a few suggestions for a seasonal twist –the fruit, cheese, nuts and dried fruit can be swapped out accordingly. I especially love tossing in Candied Nuts when I have them on hand. There are many possibilities.

Seasonal Twists
Spring Fling Salad – sliced strawberries, toasted almonds, goat cheese and craisins
Summer Time Salad – fresh figs, goat cheese, pistachios and dried apricots
Autumn Harvest Salad – crisp apple, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, craisins
Elegant Winter Salad– pears, blue cheese, candied walnuts and craisins

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 cups mixed lettuce greens
3 firm apples (such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji)
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and honey together in a medium bowl with a whisk. Continue to whisk while pouring the olive oil in a steady steam into the mixture. Combine the ingredients well and taste to see if the dressing needs anymore of a certain ingredient to balance the flavors, since ingredients here can vary greatly.

Place the mixed lettuce greens in a large salad bowl. Cut the apple into bite size pieces and place on top of the greens. Add half of the dressing and toss the apples and lettuce together. Add the craisins, the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and the toasted pecans to the salad. Gently toss all the ingredients together. Add more dressing, as desired. Serve the salad promptly.


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