Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Cherries and Walnuts

Yes, it's as easy as it sounds, but it's definitely one of those salads that they would serve at cute little bistros or as an appetizer salad at a steak house or another (by grad student standards) fancy restaurant.  It's a little piece of elegance you can make at home for a fraction of the cost and you'll wonder why you ever order an appetizer salad when you go out.  I recently bought some nice (and huge) plates on clearance at Target and I think they are perfect for this, partly because I have trouble eating salad without accidently pushing the greens off the plate and the larger plate prevents that, and partly because a nice plate goes well with a nice salad.  Note that I bought a nice pomegranate infused red wine vinegar for salad dressings (I think that brings me up to six types of vinegar and counting) that I think goes very nicely on this.  Balsamic or regular red wine vinegar would also work well.

1 cup spinach rinsed with stems removed
2 Tbsp toasted walnuts (and toasting nuts smells amazing)
2 Tbsp dried tart cherries (cranberries work, but not as well)
2 Tbsp goat cheese crumbles (I found them at Trader Joe's)
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Red wine or balsamic vinegar, to taste

I really hope you don't need directions beyond the ingredients :).

Today I ate this salad with a nice toasted vegetarian sandwich I made.  I acquired a multigrain baguette from Panera, so I sprinkled it with a little red wine vinegar and ground Italian herbs, put some Muenster cheese (Provolone would be better but Muenster was on sale), tomatoes, and red onion slices on one half of the baguette and stuck it in the toaster oven. I toasted until the cheese was almost melted then topped it with a few avocado* slices, and the other half of the bread, which I spread with roasted garlic**, and toasted it a little more.  It was a delicious, deli quality lunch, healthy but low in protein so I made sure to drink a glass of milk with it.

A few notes from this lunch:
*Avocados should be stored at room temperature until ripe.  Once ripe you can put them in the fridge for a couple days.  Cut avocados should be stored in the fridge and you can brush them with a little lemon juice and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap (with the plastic touching the cut surface) to reduce browning (otherwise you can cut off the brown part).

**To roast garlic: preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the outermost skin from the garlic and rub the whole bulb liberally with olive oil.  Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the garlic bulb is soft to the touch.  Note that what I did (since I don't plan on eating an entire bulb of roasted garlic, mostly I shouldn't eat that much bread seeing as that is pretty much all I ate yesterday) is removed most of the outside cloves, leaving only 4 or five in the middle and followed the directions above, but it only took about 20 minutes until the garlic was soft.  So basically it is possible to do smaller batches of roasted garlic if you are only cooking for one :).  Also this is a nice use for a toaster oven.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how true it is, but I've heard that keeping the avocado pit with the cut avocado prevents it from browning/over-ripening.