Since Shalinee and I didn’t Swap this week, I thought I’d share one of my favorite salads. I can’t use this salad for The Swap because it involves almonds (we have a No Nuts rule because Shalinee’s son, Alex, is allergic to nuts/seeds), but I’m sure that Shalinee would love it. This is based on a recipe for a salad that my cousin Karen used to make. It is no coincidence that I’m posting about this salad now; this time of year I’m thinking lots of my cousins Karen and Eric. Karen was a regular reader of the blog, and she would have gotten a big kick out of seeing this recipe posted here! [[[Love up to you Karen!]]] Anyway, last weekend I made a double batch of the dressing and the almonds (the key ingredients), and we’ve been eating variations of this salad all week. It is great with just about any dinner, and I love it packed for lunch at work. Karen’s friends have told me that she was “famous” for this salad – that she’d bring it to pot-lucks all the time, and that it got to the point where they were begging her to bring it whenever they’d have get-togethers. I can understand why. I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t like this. Try it— you’ll see!~~~~~~~~~~ Dressing: 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 1 Tbsp dijon mustard 1 Tbsp orange juice concentrate sugar to taste (I use about 3 Tbsp) —
Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake until combined. Store in fridge. ~~~~~~~~~~ Almonds: 1 bag of sliced almonds (1 2/3 cups bag) 1 cup sugar —
Put almonds and sugar in a dry pan on stove over medium-high heat. Watch carefully, stirring regularly, until sugar starts to melt. When sugar and almonds start to caramelize stir constantly so as to avoid burning. Keep stirring until almonds are toasted brown and coated evenly with caramelized sugar. Remove from pan by pouring out into a thin layer onto tin foil. Let cool. When totally cool, break up any pieces that might be stuck together. Store in air-tight container. ~~~~~~~~~~ Salad: baby mesclun greens, romaine, or whatever you like any combination of the following: dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, fresh strawberries, red onion, crumbled goat cheese, and/or any of your favorite salad toppings. — Toss together with dressing and almonds, to taste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. ~~~~~~~~~~
I am a very seasonal food person; I like to eat and cook with the seasons. So, there are very few things that I make for our family all year long. This salad is one of the rare few. Karen’s original recipe called for simply greens, dried cranberries, and mandarin oranges (and the almonds and dressing, of course). It is great that way and that is how I make it during late fall, winter, and early spring. K, O, and M love mandarin oranges, so that helps make this salad always a big hit with them! During those seasons I love to serve this salad with a side of baked brie and crusty French bread (few things are as superb of a combo as toasted almonds and baked brie!!!). My favorite variation, however, is with greens, fresh strawberries, and goat cheese (there is something outrageously good about the candied almonds and goat cheese combo contrasted with the brightness of the fresh strawberries). So, as long as I can get relatively decent and relatively cheap strawberries (which I can, pretty much, during late spring, summer, and early fall), I make it with strawberries and goat cheese. From time to time – regardless of season – I’ll add thinly sliced red onion. This is a really easy and delicious salad, nice enough to serve to guests or to accompany a nice dinner. Simple enough to toss together on a weekday for lunch or dinner (especially if the dressing and almonds have been made in advance). And because it is easy-to-assemble, it is also my go-to salad for pot-lucks, picnics, or for including with a dropped-off dinner (for a family with a new baby, etc.). Try it! You’ll love it!