|A Sweet, Salty, Savory Salad|
Some women line their vanities with bottles of exotic perfumes, but not me. Instead, I’m the girl with at least a dozen—if not two— bottles of exotic vinegars and citrus infused olive oils. Not only is using high quality vinegars and oils the surest way to take an ordinary dish and elevate it to the sublime, but it’s also the secret to getting compliments.
Sure, perfume will catch a man’s attention, but good vinegars and infused oils will catch his palate.
Last night when Mr. B cozied up to me in the kitchen and asked me what was on the menu, I was hesitant to tell him that I was throwing together a salad. After all, you may remember that I mentioned Mr. B is a bona fide carnivore and while in theory, he likes the idea of a ‘Meatless Monday’ or a ‘Vegetarian Tuesday’, theory is a lot different than actuality. But then again, since I’ve been married to Mr. B for quite sometime, I know how to put together a Man Salad.
By definition, a Man Salad is a salad with just enough meat to satisfy, mixed with ingredients that add texture and flavor. Including crumbles of good salty cheese, seasonal fruit and a handful of nuts is mandatory. And, of course, the whole trick to combining the flavors cohesively is in the dressing. I like dressings that enhance my ingredients and allow the flavors to shine through, which really means that I like to dress my greens with nothing but olive oil and vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.
If that sounds plain, let me introduce you to the wide world of vinegar, an ingredient that can instantly change the flavor profile of a dish in record time. My favorite product line is O Olive Oil, a line that I discovered many years ago when I was living in Northern California. Back then, they were a local company, but now, they’ve grown considerably. Anyhow, you can’t go wrong with any of their products. In my Man Salad, I like to use their California White Balsamic. It’s worth searching out, but if you can’t find it, feel free to substitute another vinegar.
4 cups of baby spinach, washed and dried
4 cups of mixed greens, washed and dried
8 ounces of cooked, skinless chicken breast, or thigh, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup of fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup chopped sugar snap peas
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/8 cup finely chopped green onion tops
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup of crushed, sliced, toasted almonds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
O White Balsamic Vinegar
juice of one orange
fresh ground pepper
1. Mix together all ingredients except almonds, poppy seeds, vinegar, oil, orange juice and salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
2. Drizzle salad with olive oil and vinegar; toss to coat.
3. Add almonds and poppy seeds; toss to distribute.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve with grilled baguette and good wine.