Friday, November 27, 2009

Orange Walnut Salad

I served this salad at Thanksgiving this year, and it was delicious! For a special salad, a great rule of thumb is start with a base of excellent, organic greens and serve with a fruit, nut, and cheese that compliment each other. For this salad, I used oranges, walnuts, and sharp cheddar. You might try cranberries, pecans, and chevre (or other soft goat cheese). Another favorite combination is pears, pecans, and smoked Gouda. Let your imagine run wild! Then pair it with a homemade vinaigrette that enhances the flavors you've chosen for your salad. With this salad, I used orange champagne vinegar to compliment the oranges in the salad. The basic rule of thumb for vinaigrette is Dijon mustard mixed with a 3 to 1 ration of oil to vinegar (or as much as a 5 to 1 ratio). Follow the directions below for making a vinaigrette from any kind of vinegar.

baby romaine or spring mix, pre-washed and ready-to-serve
1 bag candied walnuts (from Trader Joe's)
4 oz. Organic Valley sharp cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
2 oranges, peeled and cut into slices
Orange Champagne Vinaigrette (see recipe below).

Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl. Toss with vinaigrette.

Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbls Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
3 to 5 Tbls extra virgin olive oil

1. Dip tines of fork into Dijon mustard (should be about 1/2 tsp). In a small, shallow bowl, whisk vinegar and mustard together until combined.
3. Slowly pour oil into the mustard and vinegar mixture, constantly whisking the oil with the fork as you pour into order to emulsify the oil. This method makes a creamy, thickened dressing but you must take care to add the oil very slowly in a very thin stream.

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