A Very Versatile Salad!
September 22, 2013 by majaskitchen
My Very Versatile Salad
It has been a few years ago that we spent a couple of days in Napa, California. One day we were invited to a private home for dinner where many of their friends gathered on that evening. The dinner was catered and it was considered “light fare.”
Well, the buffet was laden with food, all salads, and it was a feast to behold.
Here are some of the salads that were on the buffet!
My plate after I took a little of every salad that was offered….
Having grown up in California I found their produce being always spectacular, not only in the summer but all year round. However, during the summertime the vegetables and fruit are absolutely the best, and this buffet gave the season credit in abundance.
The recipe for my “Very Versatile Salad!”
This recipe has developed over time. I particularly love all the fruit in it and the lemon vinaigrette makes the salad refreshing and cooling on a hot summer day, or any time during the year. It is really very versatile, one can change the fruit with the season. It is delicious when made with apricots, peaches, figs, plums and berries…or whatever fruit is available. You can also add some cold pasta, any kind of meat or fish, because the Lemon Vinaigrette is a perfect enhancer to any protein or grain.
1 head of Butter Lettuce
Some Spring Greens .. or spinach
1 Apple cut into strips
1 green Pear cut into strips
1 cup of red grapes cut in half
1 cup of fresh strawberries cut into quarters
1 Fennel cut into strips…. optional
1 orange cut into cubes
1 cup of caramelized walnuts
1 handful of fresh Basil Leaves cut into strips
Lemon Vinaigrette –
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup of water
1 tsp salt…or less if preferred
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ cup of Light Olive oil
Mix all the above ingredients and whisk to combine the sugar and salt.
Make sure that the sugar and salt are dissolved.
If the salt or sugar do not seem to dissolve…add a Tbsp of water to help these two ingredients go into solution.
Caramelized Walnuts or Pecans (Filberts)
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup of water
1 cup walnuts
Place both ingredients into a sauce pan and let the water evaporate over high heat…and let the sugar caramelize to a light golden color, then take the sugar to the side and keep swishing it around in the pan. The sugar will continue to get darker. When it is a nice golden brown color toss the walnuts into the caramelized sugar. With two fork mix the walnuts into the caramelized sugar so that the walnuts are coated. This is a very sticky job. Take care not to be burned…the sugar is very, very hot. When somewhat cooled transfer the walnuts onto a sheet of foil to cool, then break the walnut clumps into small pieces to be tossed into the salad.
After the lettuce, spinach and fruit have been washed and dried, cut them into either strips or cubes and place them into a large bowl.
Cut the Basil leaves into a” chiffonade”…thin strips…and add them to the other ingredients in the bowl.
Add the caramelized walnuts and lastly add the lemon vinaigrette and toss the salad.
It is best to add the vinaigrette just before the salad is served…
Hope you find this salad as delightful as I have for so many years.
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Maria Reisz Springer
Maja’s Kitchen LLC