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This recipe for The Salad to Bring When They Ask You to Bring a Salad is the answer to your problem, when you’ve been invited over for a meal.
Just Bring A Salad
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.
The Salad to Bring is All About the Balance of Flavors
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.
How Hard is it to Make”The Salad To Bring”?
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.
But What If I Don’t Have Any Craisins?
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.)
Edited to Add: I’m adding this paragraph to update that I actually PREFER dried cherries, over the craisins called for in the original recipe. I love their tang, and their intensity.
About the Pecans I Used in “The Salad to Bring”:
Let’s talk about where to get some extraordinarily delicious pecans. I’ve recently begun a partnership with the Millican Pecan Company, the home of the MOTHER Pecan Orchard, in San Saba, TX. They are a 5 generation farm family! Their orchard pioneered the pecan industry in San Saba, back in 1888. I LOVE their pecans, and they don’t JUST sell pecans. I heartily endorse their Sweet and Spicy pecans, that go great on a salad, or are delicious as an appetizer. If you’d like to order their VERY reasonably priced pecans, or any of their pecan treats from them, please use my coupon code: SUSAW100
To toast the 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.
But What If I Hate Blue Cheese? (Or Bleu Cheese?)
First: you’re not alone. Both my kids hate it too. Heathens.
Second: I occasionally substitute feta in honor of them, and feta works just fine.
The Recipe for The Salad to Bring (when they ask you to bring a salad):
- FOR VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- FOR SALAD:
- 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.
I like dried, tart sweet cherries. You'll find a link below, where you can order them online.
For maple syrup, I also recommend Grade A Dark. (This used to be called Grade B.) Again, you'll find a link below.
I've also included a link to an acrylic salad bowl, that should help make transporting your beautiful salad a little more worry free.
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|You owe it to yourself to make this as soon as possible. Good, and good for you!