Green Salad with Apples, Goat Cheese and Honey Vinaigrette
A beautiful salad is a work of art. The colours, textures, composition and flavours are appealing to both the eye and the palate. Whether you serve it on individual plates or pile it on a large platter for guests to helps themselves, always consider these elements when composing your creation. When dressing a salad, less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm the greens with too much dressing, too strong flavours, too much acid or too much oil. The oil to acid (vinegar or lemon juice) ratio should be nicely balanced, you know it when you taste it. The dressing can be highlighted with herbs, special salts, nut oils, a little honey, a touch of ginger etc. depending on the type of salad you serve. The best salads are often the ones that are dressed with simplicity. A drizzle of olive oil, a splash of vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkling of special sea salt is often all you need. Match the dressing to the salad or vice versa. Sturdy greens can stand up to a bold dressing, delicate greens require a more delicate dressing.
Now that summer is over and we are slow roasting root vegetables and simmering legumes and grains, it is nice to offer a fresh crisp taste at dinner that comes from a well made salad. My favourite salads combine greens with leafy herbs and offers a balance of sweet and savoury flavours. I keep candied nuts in the freezer that can be pulled out to scatter over the greens, and a good cheese in the fridge to crumble over. with apples now in season, they deserve an appearance in the salad, as do pears, pomegranates or other fall fruits.
I have been reading some of Elizabeth David’s books again and found this lovely thought about salads I wanted to share:
“I don’t altogether agree that plain green salad ever become a bore – not, that is, if it’s made with fresh, well drained crisp greenstuff and a properly seasoned dressing of good quality olive oil and a sound wine vinegar.”
Elizabeth David (1913-1992)
“The Spectator”, 1961
1 apple, cut into julienne (matchsticks)
Vinaigrette (see below)
Wash and dry the greens and spin them to remove any extra moisture.
Place greens in a bowl and drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette, just enough to moisten the greens. Toss to distribute the dressing.
Pile the greens onto salad plates.
Crush some of the caramelized nuts, roll the cheese into balls and roll lightly in the caramelized nuts. Place 2-3 balls on each plate.
Cut the apple into julienne and arrange over the salad.
Sprinkle with fleur de sel or maldon salt, or another coarse sea salt and a twist of pepper
Serve with additional dressing on the side.
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon honey dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all dressing ingredients except oil and blend well.
Add the olive oil in a very slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing emulsifies. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.