Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Berry and Bleu Cheese Spinach Salad

Spring and summer = salad season. It's during these months when produce becomes ripe and is readily available to toss with some lettuce and a little dressing. For me the perfect salad consists of something sweet, something salty, something crunchy and cheese. Bleu cheese to be exact (but I'm not picky). I love the sharp creamy flavor of bleu cheese. I especially love it with sweet berries. This salad may be the epitome of salad perfection in my book. If bleu cheese doesn't do it for you, try feta or another crumbly cheese.This is a wonder spring/summer salad to serve at your next bar b que or get together, or grill up some chicken and call it dinner for your family. 

Berry and Bleu Cheese Spinach Salad

2 romaine hearts, chopped
12 oz (2 bags) baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
4 oz bleu cheese
1/2 cup candied pecans (or walnuts)
1/2 cup poppy seed dressing

Toss the chopped romaine and spinach together in a large bowl, add sliced strawberries, blueberries, cheese and pecans, toss gently to mix. This can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving (if you wait longer the spinach might go limp). Just before serving toss with dressing or serve it on the side.

Quick Sugared Pecans:

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons sugar

For the pecans, melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the spices and 1 tablespoon of sugar and then the pecans. Toast the nuts, stirring often, until the color deepens slightly and they are lightly toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and toss with the remaining sugar. Let them cool completely spread out on a sheet pan or large plate before tossing with the salad.

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