You offer to bring “something to go with the meal” when you’ve been invited over for dinner, and the host says, “Oh…just bring a salad”. You want to bring something that will stand out as scrumptious. But you ALSO want to bring something EASY. What to do?
A couple of nights ago, I found your answer!
Spinach And Butter Lettuce Salad with Pecans and Blue Cheese
I found the original recipe for this salad on epicurious.com, one of my favorite go-to recipe sites. This particular recipe, listed in their “best of” salads recipe section, looked fairly simple. It had been given a 5 star rating: but could a salad really be that good, and that easy? Oh, yeah. It could. I’ve had this salad two nights in a row (three helpings each night) for dinner, with a simple rotisserie chicken from Costco. But it would go great with MANY types of meats, really. Serve this at any meal that needs a salad, and you’ll find your guests coming back for seconds and thirds, like I did.
I think it’s the balance of flavors and the variety of textures that makes it so good. Creaminess, tanginess and saltiness come from the blue cheese. You get crunchiness from the pecans and the crisp salad greens. There’s a touch of spicy heat to the pepper and the shallot in the dressing. There’s acidity in the vinaigrette, as well as a touch of sweetness form the maple syrup in it. And the craisins are sweet and tart and just a bit chewy, all at the same time.
The only real chopping I did (which is the thing that tends to put me off when it comes to salad making) was chopping the pecans after I roasted them (which took about 1 minute) and the shallot for the vinaigrette (which also took about 1 minute). The rest was simply throwing in the proper amount of ingredients and tossing it around with the vinaigrette.
The original recipe on the epicurious.com website called for endive. I didn’t have any, and I don’t tend to buy it, but I did have a couple of heads of butter lettuce, and a great big bucket of spinach, so that’s one way I altered and adapted this recipe. The first night I made it, I didn’t have any craisins, so I substituted strawberries. They were good, and lent their own charm, but I found I preferred the more concentrated intense flavor of the craisins. (Next time I may try dried cherries, because I’m a huge cherry fan.)
To toast pecans: spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350º for about 5 minutes. When you just begin to smell them, you’ll know they’re done. Unless you have a cold or a stopped up nose or no sense of smell.
|You owe it to yourself to make this as soon as possible. Good, and good for you!|
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped (approximately 2 T.)
- 2 T. white wine vinegar
- 1 T. maple syrup
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads of Butter Lettuce (Romaine would be fine, too)
- 10 oz. spinach
- 1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 c. dried cherries (or craisins)
- 1/3 c. crumbled blue cheese
- Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- Toss salad greens in a large bowl with vinaigrette, and sprinkle with nuts, dried fruit, and blue cheese.
If you might like to try this (and all my friends seem to love it!!!) pin it on Pinterest. You are welcome to share it with your friends on Facebook, or tweet about it on Twitter as well.