When we go down to Indiana, my husband’s family likes to go out for a meal or two; often at some really good local spot where you’ll find something a little bit different.
Like George’s. I could not tell you where George’s is, since I was just along for the ride and not really paying attention to the route, but wherever he may be, George makes one fine salad: spinach and romaine and roasted beets with mandarin orange, green apple, and a cherry vinaigrette over it all. Tasty; and I wanted some…
Of course, we weren’t in Indiana, or planning to be for a while, so I just got to work recreating the salad on my own…
•1/4 cup dried cherries
•1/4 cup red wine vinegar
•2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•1 tsp champagne vinegar
•1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
•Roasted sliced beets*
•Granny Smith apple, sliced
Pour the red wine vinegar over the dried cherries and set aside to soak for 30 minutes, then add the other vinegars and give it all a good whizzz with your immersion blender (or, you could do all this in your blender).
With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is thick and creamy looking.
Give it a taste, then add salt, pepper and, if you think it needs a bit of sweetness, a teaspoon or so of honey, then blend again, pour into a jar, and stash in the fridge for a few hours for the flavors to blend.
*To roast beets, drain a can of sliced beets, then arrange on a foil lined baking pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
Place the pan under the broiler for eight minutes, turning the beets over every two or three minutes, until the edges start to brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
**To toast pecans, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast at 350º for five to seven minutes. Allow to cool, then store in a tightly covered container.
To make the salad, combine the baby spinach and romaine in a large bowl, then top with the roasted beets, mandarin orange slices, blue cheese, and toasted pecans (add the sliced green apple just before serving).
Serve with the cherry vinaigrette.
We had ours with baked boneless pork chops topped with a cherry cola barbecue sauce and a bit of blue cheese and thought it a fine dinner; so, thanks, George, wherever you may be.