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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Spinach-Berry Salad with Goat Cheese

This elegant salad offers complex tastes and high nutritional value. Because tossing it would detract from its beauty, I prefer to layer the ingredients and serve the exceptionally good dressing on the side, preferably in a small pitcher everyone can pass around. 

I served this salad as the main dish for a recent late-summer lunch that began with chilled Peach-Champagne Soup - a sure hit with any crowd. Chilled Pinot Gris and No-Knead Artisan Bread accompanied the salad course, with requests for seconds. Chocolate Zebra Cake concluded the meal, all of which you’ll find in the Index.

Spinach-Berry Salad with Goat Cheese:

8 c. (about 12 oz.) baby spinach, rinsed, stemmed, and blotted dry
¼ c. mild red onion, sliced paper-thin and in ½-in. lengths (see Note)
1 avocado, sliced lengthwise into ½-in. widths
1-½ c. fresh strawberries, hulled, rinsed, blotted dry, and quartered 
1-½ c. fresh blueberries, rinsed and blotted dry
4 oz. (125 g) goat cheese, crumbled into ¼-to-½ in. chunks
⅓ c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

To Prepare the Salad:

Layer the ingredients in the order given. Do not toss. Pass White Balsamic Vinaigrette separately. Serves 4-to-6.

To Prepare the White Balsamic Vinaigrette:

2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar (no substitutes)
¾ c. extra virgin olive oil (the best quality you can afford)
½ tsp. honey
⅛ tsp. coarse salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Shake in covered jar. Decant to small pitcher just before serving.

Note: A disc-slicer or mandolin do the best and fastest job of fine-slicing.

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