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Episode 31 Wild and Gathered Summer Salad

The base is a mix of bitter-style greens or baby greens. The dressing stays the same all year round as well as the spiced pecans. The fruit and cheese change with the season. This salad was a star on my wedding menu during my years of catering because it was always so beautiful and the taste is sensational.

The dressing is a classic vinaigrette of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, canola, or grapeseed oil and mustard. It stays cohesive and does not separate once mixed because the mustard binds it. It is delicious and can be used for other salads that require a sweet and sour flavor.

Here's how I make it in the other seasons. I use the same baby greens, dressing, and nuts, however, I switch out the fruits and cheeses to reflect the local bounty

Fall- Apple Slices and Goat Cheese

Winter- Dried Fruits or Oranges and Parmesan Cheese

Spring- Strawberries and Feta Cheese

When I serve it for a party, I set up the greens, fruit, cheese, and nuts in a bowl, and then about 10 minutes before I serve while I'm getting the last-minute details done I use a squirt bottle and squirt the dressing around the inside of the bowl. Then when It's serving time and I am pulling the foil off of the other dishes, I toss the salad on the fly. This was an old catering trick because the dressing does not make the salad soggy when it's on the side of the bowl.

I like to use the Spiced nuts on my Charcuterie Boards, and They are great on Baked Brie with a drizzle of Cognac.

To print this recipe, click here

Wild and Gathered All Seasons Salad with Spicy Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette  Serves 10-12

I call this an “all seasons” salad because I serve it all year long, I just change the fruits and cheese for the season and serve a different version of it. I still serve it with Maple dressing and spicy nuts because it’s those flavors that make the salad special.

Summer Salad  1- ½  pounds baby mixed or microgreens 6-8 ounces Bleu Cheese - Gorgonzola works well 1 pint of Fresh Blueberries (local is best)

Fall Salad ½ pounds of baby mixed or microgreens 6-8 ounces Goat’s milk cheese, crumbled 2 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced

Winter Salad 1 – ½  pounds of baby spinach or baby mixed greens 6-8 ounces Good Quality Parmesan cheese 1 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried figs

Spring Salad 1 ½ pounds baby mixed greens or microgreens 4 -6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled 1 quart of fresh strawberries, sliced

Spicy Pecans Ingredients: 3 cups pecan pieces 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon red cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons sugar

Roast pecans on a cookie sheet at 350F for 15 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes. When they start to smell like toasted nuts, remove them from the oven and set them aside. As nuts are roasting -Melt butter in a small bowl. Mix seasonings in a larger bowl. When nuts are toasted, toss in the bowl with the seasonings and add the butter. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet and let them dry for about an hour. (can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container)

Maple Vinaigrette Yields 2 1/2 cups Ingredients: 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup of onion, peeled and minced 2/3 cup of maple syrup 1 cup of canola oil 1 Tablespoon Brown mustard

Instructions: Place all ingredients in a food processor except oil and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drizzle in oil slowly


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