Thursday, September 20, 2012

scrumptious salads

Salads in Paris. Where to begin? For a vegetarian, the salad selections of Paris are almost as exciting as the pastries (I said almost). At home, I'm used to two options in a conventional restaurant - caesar and mediterranean. If it's an upscale restaurant, you might get lucky with an uninspired beet salad, or if it's a health-minded place, there might be some quinoa or cous-cous. But Parisians? They know how to turn a salad into a meal. There's goat cheeses on toasts, the salads have the perfect amount of dressing, the vegetables are fresh and perky, plates are large and overflowing, and there's not an unripe tomato in sight.

I came home from my vacation with a brick of blue cheese. Then I ate blue cheese salads for a week. I'm not complaining.

apple and blue cheese salad
This makes dressing about 3 cups of greens - a nice size for a main course salad for one. Increase if you're sharing.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp maple mustard
salt and pepper
salad greens of your choice
pickled peas
toasted walnuts
apple slices
blue cheese

In a largish bowl, combine oil, vinegar, syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk together with a fork, and add your salad greens. Toss with your hands to coat the leaves. Top salad with peas, walnuts, apple slices and crumbled blue cheese.

*A note on the pickled peas. You probably don't have any, so just leave them out. But, if you feel like making them, I would definitely suggest it next spring! I used the recipe from Canning for a New Generation, a highly recommended canning book, but here's a similar recipe on Smitten Kitchen.  Popped out of their pods, they're lovely and crunchy, a nice combination of sweet pea flavour and tangy pickle. I also threw in some of the pickled shallots from the jar.

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