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WINTER SALADS-A Little Sunshine on the Plate

Chef Linda Weiss

Oh take me away from the winter doldrums, enough is enough. I need something to warm up my palate, something bright and pretty to eat. Try the winter salads below to add some sunshine to your plate.

Baby Greens with Strawberries, Oranges, Pears and Almonds

Grand Marnier & Honey Dressing

Most of the time I have fresh fruit on the kitchen counter in a big bowl. I don’t always just stop, grab an orange and eat it, nor do I do the same with pears or bananas. But, instead I serve them as a meal, or at least part of a meal.

Since I always have baby greens in the fridge for me, and iceberg lettuce for my husband who won’t eat anything else, it’s pretty easy to put a salad together from what I have.  So whatever your lettuce preference, all you need to do is to add some fresh fruit, and have on hand the ingredients to make a good, very fresh salad dressing that goes well with the fruit. 

Strawberries are in season right now in Florida and work beautifully with the other fruits by adding a different taste and color dimension.  If I add sliced grilled chicken breasts, I’ve got a meal with very little cooking. This beautiful and colorful plate will stimulate the palate like a good painting stimulates the brain. So easy, so good.

You can also make this on a platter and serve a crowd. Just prepare the same amount per person on the platter, and then pour the dressing over the salad. The dressing will mix in when you serve the salad.

Salad-

Use about 3 cups of mixed baby greens for an entrée side portion
Several orange sections per person
Several slices of peeled and cored pears per person
½ cup fresh strawberries per person
2 tablespoons sliced toasted almonds per person

Place baby greens on a plate. Then add the orange sections, pear slices, and strawberries. If you are adding grilled chicken, add it at this time, then top the salad with 2 tablespoons toasted almonds.

Pour on 2 tablespoons salad dressing and serve immediately.

Layer the same way for a salad on a platter.

Dressing-

3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2-1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine all ingredients in a jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Chill thoroughly. Shake well before serving. Serve dressing over salad greens and fruit.

I’ve made the goat cheese and winter greens salad with great success in my cooking classes. It’s always a favorite. Let me know how you like it. Make sure you use a good goat cheese and a local one if you have it available. I know that pancetta is not available in many areas so by all means use country ham.

Goat Cheese and Pancetta Salad with Winter Greens and Sherry Vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced small ( I use country ham)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
8 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces sherry vinegar
12 ounces mixed winter greens such as spinach, frisee, or arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pear, sliced thin and grilled

Heat the olive oil and pancetta. Add the garlic, thyme and sherry vinegar to deglaze the pan. Cook down slightly.

Turn the heat off, and add the crumbled goat cheese, greens, salt and pepper. Toss quickly. Serve warm. Garnish with the grilled pears. Serves 4-6.

Visit Chef Linda at her website:  www.cheflindaweiss.com
and her blog:  www.lindaallaboutfood.blogspot.com
Linda’s first book, Memories From Home, Cooking with Family & Friends
is available at Amazon.com or at her website.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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