Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Anatomy of a Salad

I'm not a salad pro by any means, but I think I'm on to something with this one. Arugula, chicken, roasted tomatoes, homemade croutons, hardboiled eggs, and creamy tangy goat cheese...I want it all the time. 

This entree salad just has all the right components. The right mix of textures, flavors, and temperatures…so much goodness! I don't usually post salad recipes, because, well… I generally don't think salads need a recipe, but more like… simple instructions or guidance. The anatomy of a salad, if you will. 

The Greens
Lettuce, spinach, kale, spring greens, arugula. Your salad should start off with a big pile of greens. In this salad, I used arugula, because I love the way dressing clings to the sturdy leaves and I can't get enough of the peppery bite. 

The Protein 
Grilled chicken is obviously a salad go-to. For this particular salad, I've used both grilled chicken, and shredded roasted chicken. I also like to add hardboiled egg slices—the egg adds just the right creamy richness to balance out the acid in the dressing.

The Bread
In my opinion, all good entree salads need bread, but I'm a carbaholic. Go the sliced, grilled bread route, or make homemade croutons. To make the croutons, toss chunks of bread in olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs (like thyme or herbs de provence), and bake in a 400 degree oven golden and crispy. I used a hearty walnut bread in this one. 

The Veg
Ok, so tomatoes aren't a vegetable. But in this salad, they're the veg. Just work with me. I love roasted cherry tomatoes in this, I love the way they smash against the croutons, and they're amazing still slightly warm. Similar to the croutons, I toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme, and roast at 400 until just starting to split and shrivel. 

The Cheese
Two words. Humboldt. Fog. This tangy, creamy, rich goat cheese is to. die. for. But a crumbly bleu, or even big shards of nutty parmesan work. 

The Dressing
Shutterbean's fig balsamic is just the right amount of sweet and tangy. I like to toss the arugula and croutons in the dressing, then pile the rest of the ingredients on top.

The Nut
I like the crunch of a good toasted nut in my salads. I used hazelnuts in this one, since they were so good with Shutterbean's dressing in her original recipe.

Toss it all together, and you're good to go. So, so good to go.

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