Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mesclun Salad with Homemade Honey Roasted Almonds and Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Yuuummmm. I was mmmm mmm mmm-ing the entire time I was eating this salad. It's pretty much my perfect salad (other than say a beet salad). But I find something like this next to impossible to resist on a menu. I also find that most of the time when I make my own vinaigrette, there is something off with the flavors. Like it tastes good plain, but then I mix all the goods together and it just doesn't mesh. This is NOT the case with this salad. Some might find this salad too sweet bc of the sugar from the nuts and the maple syrup, but I thought it was the jam. My mouth is watering just thinking about it...and it's a salad....My dad and my step mom absolutely loved it too and my mom ate the leftovers directly from the salad bowl at dinner. 

Oh man check out this close up...yeah thats right. A juicy burger couldn't make my mouth water more...maybe not even a breakfast sandwich....blame it on the summer heat...or the goat cheese. I can't resist goat cheese. I just can't. 

Mesclun Salad 
about 4 sliced strawberries
1/3 cup blueberries
full bag (or more) of garden blend greens
about a ¼ cup honey goat cheese, crumbled (or regular, but I prefer the honey)
about a ¼ cup of honey roasted almonds
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Depending on the quality of your ingredients, you may want to try one or the other versions of the vinaigrette. My dad tends to have super fancy pants oils and vinegar's that are old and have subtler or stronger flavors. If that sounds more like your pantry - use this version

higher quality ingredients:
1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon aged red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

more everyday ingredients: 
1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

The first time I made this vinaigrette I was user more everyday ingredients, so the vinegar flavor was strong enough from the balsamic. When I made it again at my dads house like I did the first, it tasted very flat, so the addition of the red wine vinegar gave it just the right amount of zing. The higher quality/aged ingredients were thicker and almost looked like more of a dressing than a vinaigrette before I added the rwv (if you don't know what kind of ingredients you have)

Honey Roasted Almonds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil 
¼ cup of granulated sugar 

¼  teaspoon of salt 

Bake the almonds on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Heat the honey, oil and water in a sauce pan. When the pecans are finished toasted, pour them into the pan and stir until the pecans have absorbed all of the liquid. Pour the sugar and salt over the pecans and toss until fully coated. Spread out onto a cookie sheet and let dry for at least 30 minutes before breaking apart.

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