Fierce Foodie: Spring Salad
a blogumn by Roya Hamadani
After a long winter of soups and stews, I crave the freshness of crunchy greens. I have been on a major salad kick lately, enjoying many tasty combinations such as baby beets and mild goat cheese with a little asparagus. I found iceberg lettuce boring until my sister suggested shredding it with a handful of chopped parsley to give it flavor. Once my garden returns I plan to try the same trick with fresh mint.
Dried cranberries go well with pistachios and feta cheese on romaine lettuce. Shredded carrot and red cabbage provide a colorful alternative to lettuce, and pair well with a buttermilk dressing. I am a huge fan of creamy avocado, especially when it is combined with turkey and bacon. Mango serves this role equally well. Artichoke hearts from a jar provide great taste and texture as well as salad dressing component over strips of sweet yellow pepper.
Some people avoid using fresh fruit in a green salad, but I think the tartness of strawberries combines well with spinach, mild goat cheese, and strawberry vinaigrette. I also adore mandarin oranges with strong flavors such as fresh grated Pecorino Romano or a sesame soy dressing. Blueberries also go well with a mild goat cheese and complement the crunch of slivered toasted almonds.
Salty and sweet, crunchy and soft, creamy and acidic, these are the combinations I try to use in a salad to keep it interesting. And I’ve got one really great combination salad for you after the jump:
Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad
6 ounces baby spinach
5 strawberries, thinly sliced
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 ounces mild goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup honey
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp strawberry jam
Mix vinaigrette ingredients in a blender, set aside.
Combine spinach, strawberries, almonds and goat cheese into a large bowl and gently toss. Add dressing to taste and toss once more. Serve immediately.