California Central Coast Recipes
Early Summer Greens and Cherries Salad
Early Summer Greens and Cherries Salad made with heirloom Speckled Trout-back Greens, fresh cherries, vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, brie cheese and raisin bread croutons is a delicious alternative to an everyday salad. It makes the use of in-season Bing cherries, a often over looked salad addition and complementary buttery fresh raisin bread croutons for both an unusual look and taste. It's fresh-fun-and delicious!
If you can, try and find an heirloom variety of greens like Speckled Trout-back at your local farmers market for your salad. But if you can't find something unusual, don't worry you can use a nice head of fresh Romaine just as well.
What really "makes" this salad though, is our use of raisin bread croutons. They're absolutely delicious when toasted then quickly sauteed in butter. Avoid using raisin-cinnamon bread. The cinnamon will clash with the vinaigrette.
The "slightly" time-involved part of it is just toasting the walnuts and the croutons, which can each be done in about ten minutes at 300 degrees.
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time:
1 head Speckled Troutback greens or Romaine lettuce , washed, and blotted dry
1-1/2 cups Bing cherries , pitted and halved
1/2 cups Walnuts ,coarsely chopped
7 ounces Mild Brie Cheese cubed.
3 slices Raisin Bread , cubed in bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
1/4 cup Lemon juice
3 Tablespoons Extra- virgin Olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sugar if required to taste
Water if required to taste
A few fresh Basil Leaves for Garnish
1 Heat oven to 300 degrees.
2 On two separate baking sheets, spread out the walnuts on one sheet and the cubed raisin bread on the other sheet. Bake each sheet in 300 degree oven for ten minutes or until the walnuts and croutons are lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
3 In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter foams, add in the croutons and stir. When the croutons are lightly browned and crisp, remove from heat and set aside for later.
4 To make the vinaigrette, add lemon juice to a large measuring cup. If lemon is extremely tart, you may need to add a few drops of water and or sugar to bring the sweetness up a little.
5 Add Olive oil. I prefer 4 parts lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil. (This makes the salad taste fresh and light.)
6 When the balance is right for the vinaigrette, add a little salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
7 In a large salad bowl, tear the green leaves into large pieces and toss in salad bowl.
8 Pour a little vinaigrette over the leaves and toss to distribute the vinaigrette evenly. After tossing if need be, add more vinaigrette.
9 Sprinkle the walnuts over the greens and then gently toss the mixture to distribute the nuts evenly.
10 Sprinkle the cherries over the top of the salad mixture and gently toss.
11 Add in the reserved croutons, brie cheese and gently toss again.
12 Taste and correct any seasoning, adding and adding a little more vinaigrette to the mixture if needed.
13 Garnish with the basil leaves if using, and serve immediately on chilled plates.
Serve with a cold Pinot Grigio or an Alsatian-style Gewurztraminer.