A warmly set table, sparkling glassware, hints of color, perhaps a few flowers tucked into a vase, the glow of candles, each small touches that show care, precious time spent welcoming guests to the shared table. There are so many possibilities for enriching the tone of a special moment, maybe you have lots of creative ideas of your own.
Then when it comes to the food selections, it may be that sometimes, among choices, you are more inclined to prepare a certain dish partly because you appreciate and enjoy it so much as a guest at the home of another’s, and for me, one of those special dishes is salad. Really. It’s true. Lots of times, especially in the summer, friends might extend an invitation to an impromptu barbecue, or a simple gathering, expressing that they are going to keep it simple including one of those dishes commonly referred to as ‘just a salad.’ And then the meal appears on the buffet and the ‘just a salad’ is a big bowl of beautiful, assorted greens and lots of sliced fresh and colorful vegetables. I for one always enjoy and appreciate those salads, along with the work it takes to prepare, including the washing and drying of the greens, tearing them to bite size pieces, prepping the ingredients, and whipping up a good dressing.
One thing that does make salad simple though, is its diverse and countless possibilities, same as the many creative ways of setting special touches to a table, setting a tone of the moment, especially considered when gathering and combining your ingredients on what is seasonal, which may likely happen to be what you regularly keep in your food pantry over that season. In the autumn, my favorite salad is what I’ve shared today, Fall Green Salad with Fruits, Walnuts, Blue Cheese. A contrasted grouping of tart and sweet, soft, chewy, crunchy, a crispy red apple, a just ripe pear, some sprinkled dried cranberries, walnuts. Each of these ingredients most always in stock, ready for the eating, and perfect for serving once the fall begins, even into the winter. And just like those fresh green salads of summer tossed with lots of freshly chopped vegetables, so enjoyed and appreciated, Fall Green Salad with Fruits, Walnuts, Blue Cheese too, is anything ‘but just a salad.’
- 7-8 cups assorted mixed baby greens
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 3-4 walnuts per salad broken in half
- 2 pears, peeled and sliced just before plating
- 1 crisp apple, unpeeled, cut into cubes just before plating
- around 5-6 very small cubes blue cheese for each salad
- 2 tablespoons diced red onion
- 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- pinch coarse kosher salt
- grind of coarse black pepper
- Toss lettuce with the cranberries and walnuts, pour in dressing and toss throughout. Platter about 2 cups dressed salad per plate, top with crunchy apple cubes, a few slices of pear and blue cheese cubes. Serve immediately.
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and toss through salad just before serving.