20 June 2008

Salade avec Cerises, Fleurs et Fromage de Chèvre

Why the French title? Well, this salad of mixed greens, fresh cherries, flower petals, toasted almonds and goat cheese seemed too special to get just an ordinary title and French makes everything sound so much fancier and more 'culinary', doesn't it? The inspiration for this one was really just what I had on had in the house and it turned out so well, I wanted to post it right away. It does take a few more minutes than just mixing pre-bagged lettuce with a bottled dressing but the results are like comparing apples and oranges.

The greens are fresh and crisp and the cherries decadent. When you get a forkful with everything on it the flavors just pop- creamy cheese, tart cherry, crunchy almond and fresh greens. The flower petals don't have a very distinct flavor but they add such pretty color to the salad and would totally impress your guests if you decided to serve this as a first course. Recipe after the jump.

Salade avec Cerises, Fleurs et Fromage de Chèvre
Serves 1 for dinner

A few handfulls of fresh greens, washed, dried and torn into pieces
6 cherries
scant 1 oz. goat cheese (about a fifth of the normal US size log)
1 T. toasted almond slivers
3 calendula flowers, 1 whole, 2 with petals removed
Sweet balsamic dressing (recipe below)

- Put the greens in a large bowl. Cut three of the cherries in half and remove the pit. Cut the remaining cherries into fourths. Add cherries to greens.

- Use a fork to flake about 3/4ths of the goat cheese into the greens, reserve the rest. Toss the greens mix with the dressing and plate. Sprinkle the almonds, remaining goat cheese and calendula petals. Top with the whole flower and serve.

Sweet Balsamic Dressing
For dressing one salad

I don't measure ingredients for dressings because I hate to dirty a set of teaspoons for such a little thing. I've given approximate values here but the best thing to do it make it then taste it and decide if you'd like more of any one ingredient.

1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 t. honey
1/4 t. dijon mustard
2 t. highest quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.

- Add everything but the olive oil to a bowl and wisk well. Add the olive oil and wisk again. The mustard should hold the oil in an emulsion and the dressing will get a little thick and opaque. Taste then add salt and pepper. If the dressing is too sweet, add more vinegar. Not sweet enough, add more honey. If it just won't come together (meaning the oil and vinegar don't want to get along) add a touch more mustard.

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