WOO HOO, Week 3 of our month of salads!! I can’t be the only one who gets excited about salads, right? I have a doozy for you this week. It is sweet and tangy, with lots of great textures coming together for that perfect bite each time you spear a forkful.
I confess, I can’t take credit for this salad – my awesome Father-in-law first introduced me to his version of it it several years ago. I believe he had something similar at a party or restaurant, and he decided to recreate it. Him and I have that in common; the recreating dishes we love from restaurants, I mean. We both do a version of a steak with chimmichurri butter served over fries that was one of our family’s favorite dishes at one of our favorite restaurants until it was taken off the menu. (Ahem, still mourning the loss, Steubens.) BUT I digress greatly – as usual.
This salad. This salad is the direct opposite of a boring salad. It is an explosion of flavors and textures that come together so nicely, even anti-salad people love this salad. It is a great “company’s coming” salad – whip it up ahead of time, toss the dressing into it last minute, and it is a really nice starter (no need for the protein if you are serving it this way.)
But I LOVE it as a meal- especially with the addition of the smoked salmon. All of the sweet elements, contrasted with the salt of the fish and the crunch of the almonds?
Here we go:
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 bag fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
1small can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 bag dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 ounces crumbly goat cheese
Raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
4-6 ounces smoked salmon
WHAT YOU DO:
Place the rinsed, dried spinach in a large bowl. I like to tear off the stems from the majority of the leaves – a few left is fine, I just don’t care for the texture of them to be overwhelming.
Crumble in the goat cheese, and add the oranges, after draining VERY well (or the dressing won’t cling to your salad, and that’s just sad.)
Next, in with the almonds and dried berries :
Then the dressing. I know I’m being lazy here with the bottled dressing, but I like to keep the ingredients for this dressing on hand in case we have last minute guests or I just want something different for lunch. Knowing this tasty dressing is waiting, ready to go at a moment’s notice? It’s like my sweet, flavorful, dirty little secret.
Seriously – try it. Feed it to your “non-salad” people. (Look out for my kid though, he will steal all your oranges and crasins. It is a salad so good that it makes 4 year olds throw what little salad ettiqute they know straight to the wind.) This will feed two hungry adults a nice-sized meal, or split it up into four if you are using as a side.
I come back to this again and again.
I should really thank my father-in-law sometime.
Next week – a fresh and fast all homemade version of everyone’s favorite classic salad.