Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Pecans and Blackberries

Earlier in the summer I enjoyed the most delicious spinach salad at a restaurant. It had blackberries, goat cheese and candied pecans, and the dressing was a rhubarb vinaigrette. I love a good spinach salad, and this was the best I've ever eaten, a perfect blend of flavors and textures. I couldn't get this salad out of my mind, but luckily I didn't have to, because it was fairly easy to recreate a reasonable facsimile at home.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The restaurant used candied pecans, but I skip those and just throw on toasted pecans. If you live near a Trader Joe's, did you know that you can buy already-toasted baking pieces of pecans? What a great shortcut.

- I've used herbed goat cheese but prefer the plain in this salad. Most often, I use a lovely soft mild goat cheese from my farm box.

- I usually have my salads without dressing, as in the picture above, but I found a honey vinaigrette which I think pairs nicely with the goat cheese in the salad (see picture, below). I based it on this recipe. Here's my version:
  • 2 T chopped red onion
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp honey (in my case, sourwood)
  • 1 tsp walnut oil
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
The restaurant used a rhubarb vinaigrette, which was lovely. You could use raspberry vinaigrette too.

the verdict:

I love this salad and make it at least once a week. It's not as wonderful as at the restaurant, but it is a good stand-in.


Creative Classroom Core said...

Such a tasty salad! The blackberries that grow near our house are almost ripe, so I will be out picking them to make this salad soon!

Anonymous said...

You had me a goat cheese! This is the perfect summer salad with infinite variations depending on what berries/cheese/nuts you have on hand. YUM.

Mary Ann said...

This salad looks perfect. I want to eat it every week too. Yum.

Audrey said...

What a pretty salad! I remember that you love blackberries, so I'm glad you were able to recreate such a special treat. I love spinach salads. This, and your gorgeouso roast chicken, and maybe some homemade ice cream...what a lovely, perfect summer meal!

Kayte said...

This looks delicious. I make salads like this all the time, too, as the variations are endless and it never gets boring. I need to explore more goat cheese options as we are just not big goat cheese fans around here...I think it is because I just haven't given enough of them a try. Thanks for the little recipe you included, always fun to make what others find enchanting!

Eliana said...

What an amazing looking summer salad. Awesome job.