Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Berry Main Dish Salad

Summer berries are still in season. While I am content to rinse them and eat them straight from the carton, I also like using them in fresh salads. The season never lasts long enough to suit me. I'm always a little sad when the price for a box of blueberries or raspberries makes it a luxury, rather than an option. (I guess I should be happy for the berry farmers.)

Anyway, I found a recipe for a salad and a blueberry vinaigrette online, but I wanted to make some revisions to make it a main dish salad. I chopped some hearts of romaine for the base, and I added some other seasonal fruits still on sale. For protein, add grilled chicken breast or grilled steak. (This beef-producing family would have used the photos of the steak, but we just may have gotten it a little on the medium well side instead of medium. Oh the joys of grilling! I did extra meat so that I could use it for fajitas for another meal.)

Crumbled goat cheese added smoothness and homemade candied walnuts added the contrast of crunch. The original recipe called for a couple ears of sweet corn, but I added some field corn instead, since that was readily available in the field across the road.

While I regularly use commercially-made dressings, this homemade blueberry vinaigrette with honey, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard added just the right mix of sweet and sour to the salad. Enjoy!
Summer Berry Main Dish Salad
Serves 4
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
3/4 cup raspberries
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup Bing cherry slices (cutting away from the pit)
3/4 cup green grapes
4 oz. goat cheese
Sugared walnut or pecan halves (opt.)
Seasoned and grilled chicken or steak (about 3-4 oz. for each serving)

Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Dressing recipe from Iowa Girl Eats)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For meat:  I marinated the chicken breasts in Kraft Zesty Lime Vinaigrette. I used a dry steak rub for the steak. Grill the meats until done. Let rest, then cut into strips and add about 3 to 4 ounces of grilled chicken or beef to each main dish salad.

For dressing: Combine all ingredients and use blender to mix well. Set aside. Stir before using.

Chop romaine lettuce and divide among four plates or bowls. Distribute fresh fruits and corn equally on the four salads. Using a fork to break it up, put about 1 ounce of goat cheese on each salad. Just before serving, top with sugared walnuts. Top with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste.

Note:  You may purchase sugared walnuts or another nut of your choice. You may also make your own by putting 1 cup walnuts in a heavy-duty skillet. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Heat on high heat, watching it closely. When the sugar starts to melt, keep stirring and evenly coat the nuts, taking care not to burn them. Remove from heat and put on parchment paper; allow to cool before using. You won't use all of these nuts for the salads, but put in an airtight container for use in other salads, etc.

Another idea: If you prefer a saltier component, add shelled pistachios instead of the sugared nuts.

Today, I'm linked to Wake Up Wednesdays. Click on the link to see recipes from bloggers all over the country.

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