Salad… oh the glorious salad…
I ask myself: Why has my blog been active for 6 weeks and in all my 15 posts I have yet to give you a salad recipe, when I eat salad ALL the time?? Some things make no sense. I apologise, friends… I have been remiss.
So many good salads, so little time…
To me, a good salad is one that is more than just the standard lettuce/tomato/cucumber/Ranch dressing combo that languishes on many restaurant menus. No, a good salad has something to make it sparkle, to give it zest, to make it say, “EAT ME!” A good salad makes diners spoon-fight in the bowl for that last drippy bite. You know what I’m talking about.
This salad was inspired by one that I tried recently at Poggio Trattoria in Sausalito, California, when I was on vacation with my family. It met my criteria of wanting to spoon-fight for the last bite, only I was too polite to engage in this with my brother and sister-in-law. It was really their salad, not mine, regrettably.
The few bites I did have lingered on my mind this whole week, and I couldn’t wait to recreate it and completely
stuff my face satiate myself with it. I started with a box of fresh peaches (aren’t they gorgeous?) from Trader Joe’s, which is now in southeast Denver, yippee! I love this store.
But of course I had to make a few changes to the restaurant salad… you know me!! I added blueberries in addition to the peaches, and used toasted pecans instead of candied walnuts. The pickled onions were surprisingly easy to make- just soak sliced onions in red wine vinegar and a bit of sugar. I probably could have used more sugar, but it seemed fine with just a little. (By the way, start this process ahead of time- I soaked my onions for about 6 hours before making my salad.) I also have no idea what dressing Poggio used, so we’re using a maple balsamic vinaigrette. It works.
And actually, everything works. It makes sense, really- take any 2 elements of this salad and they are delicious together:
mixed baby greens + pickled onions
peaches + pecans
blueberries + goat cheese
But put them all together and that’s when it really pops. You all of a sudden have a glorious symphony of sweet + tart + creamy + bitter + tangy + gorgeous colours + a medley of textures that makes this salad perfection on a plate… and in your mouth. Oh it makes me want to eat it again NOW.
Make it now, while you can, while peaches are in season. If you don’t live in “peach country,” use mangoes instead. But wherever you live, make it… I promise you won’t regret it.
Peach Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans, and Pickled Onions
The 6 hours is for the onions to soak in the vinegar mixture- just be sure to start this process in advance of wanting to eat your salad!
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
- 2 ripe peaches, peeled & sliced
- ½ cup fresh blueberries, rinsed & dried
- ¼ cup pecans, toasted
- 2 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
for the pickled onions:
- ½ red onion, sliced vertically
- 3 T. sugar
- ½ t. salt
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
for the dressing:
- 2 T. fresh lemon juice
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 T. maple syrup
- ½ t. Dijon mustard
- ¼ t. salt
- ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
- 4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
To make the pickled onions:
- Combine sliced onions, sugar, salt, and vinegar in a small, non-reactive bowl. Make sure onions are covered completely.
- Cover and place in refrigerator about 6 hours, stirring a few times. When you use them, be sure to drain well.
To make the dressing:
- Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until well-combined.
To assemble the salad:
- Arrange the salad greens on a large platter or in a large salad bowl.
- Add peaches, blueberries, pecans, goat cheese, mint, and pickled onions (you might not use all the pickled onions.) Toss to combine.
- Add about 3-4 tablespoons of dressing (you won’t use it all) and toss again until salad is coated. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.