in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Salad Days

I love a great salad any time of year and think we are fortunate to be able to get lettuce year round. This is a good one to serve during the holidays. It has a bit more umph due to the cheese and a tangy dressing that goes well with most main dishes. Try it with a squash soup for a light dinner or with your turkey sandwiches on Black Friday.
Mediterranean Mixed Salad
4 cups mixed greens or romaine peices
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsely
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
3/4 cup cucumber quartered cucumber slices
1 cup pomegranate arils
3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, about 6 ounces
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 of a large lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup walnut oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place greens into serving bowl and toss with parsley. Sprinkle celery, cukes, pomegranate and feta on top. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and immediately pour over salad to serve.

Hints: Remove the stems from the parsley before chopping it, you don't really want the stems. As with all salads, make sure the greens are clean and fresh. Getting the arils out of a pomegranate is easiest if done in a big bowl of water--reduces the mess and time. Cut the pomegranate in half and submerge each half in water then gently pull apart. Use the best feta you can afford. Walnut oil is really wonderful but another type may be substituted. This dressing works for other salad combos very well. It is not sweet at all but has lovely tart and savory characteristics that go with lots of foods.

Nearly all lettuce salads with fruit components use sweet dressings, and many of them are nice. I have had some lately though that had a bit more nuance to them and I liked it.  A little sugar is fine for flavor balance but I feel we have overdone the sweet and I welcome the return of more complex flavors like this salad has. Sugar is not the enemy but it is not our best friend either. 
I am a big fan of The Nutrition Diva podcasts on itunes. They are excellent. Short, balanced and informative from a reliable source that has no agenda other than education. Check out the website, too.

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