This is the Part I of a series called Great Summer Salads. I am challenging myself to create and cook interesting and wonderful fresh salads this summer.
This salad celebrates the very best of Spring: the first crop of greens from my garden, and a beautiful sunny evening which inspired me to use the grill in creative ways — like toasting nuts.
This year I have planted a huge crop of mixed greens including lots of arugula and varying lettuces. I love being able to just pick a few leaves off of each plant to make a salad for the evening. However, I find salads to be quite boring a lot of the time. So I am hereby challenging myself to be more creative with salads this summer.
I really did plant a huge crop of salad greens.
For me to enjoy a salad it should have lots of contrasting flavors and textures–and usually some cheese. I found that by grilling the apple you further deepen it’s sweetness and soften the texture so when it is tossed it can really blend with the other salad ingredients. The blue cheese is quite sharp and does require the apple and bitter greens to contrast it’s otherwise overly richness. Green onions would also be lovely in this, but instead I opted for fresh chives from the garden in the vinaigrette.
Grilled Apple, Walnut, Blue Cheese and Mesclun Salad(serves 2-4)
reheat your barbecue to high heat. In a bowl whisk together the shallot, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. While whisking vigorously, stream in the olive oil until you have a nice emulsion. Whisk in chives. Taste the dressing and adjust for salt and pepper of necessary.
Wash the apple and slice it into 1/4" slices. Toss with a tablespoon of the salad dressing. Grab a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the walnuts in. Place walnuts in aluminum foil and seal.
Oil your grill and put the apple slices on the grill. Careful, they will most definitely want to try and fall down the grate. Grill for ~2 minutes with the lid closed and then flip the apples. The apple slices should be soft but still have enough texture to be flipped. Put the walnuts on the grill as well and cook apples for another 90 seconds. Flip the walnut package over and turn off the barbecue. Remove the apples and the walnuts. Open the walnut package, they should be toasted and fragrant but not burnt.
Tear the greens into bite size pieces if necessary. In a large salad bowl layer greens, then the grilled apple slices, blue cheese and walnuts. Toss with the dressing a few minutes before you are ready to serve.