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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simple But Simple Stunning Fall Salad


This simple yet stunning salad highlights the best of the changing seasons. It features fall fruits, dark leafy greens, hazelnuts, and goat cheese with fresh herbs.

I used baby arugula but you can use any leafy greens you like. I had some leftover dried mango (unsweetened and unsulfured) from a camping trip, so I made it into a purée. I added some to this salad to balance the tangy goat cheese and sour lemon juice. If stone fruits are still in season for you, you could replace the mango purée with a quartered fresh peach, nectarine, or plum.

The natural oils in hazelnuts are good for us but they are very fragile, which means they have a very short shelf life, even in the fridge. (Keep them in the freezer if you can.) If you don't have fresh, raw hazelnuts, substitute raw walnuts or pistachios.

I took the time to add fresh herbs to the goat cheese, but you could skip this step if you're short on herbs or time. To help them come together, I added a spoonful of whole milk plain yogurt, but I could just have as easily added a splash of cream or whole milk if that's what I had on hand. If you're avoiding cow's milk, you could add a splash of cold-pressed olive oil to help smooth out the goat cheese.

  • Dried mango slices or fresh stone fruits
  • Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and rosemary
  • Goat cheese at room temperature
  • Leafy salad greens
  • 1 fresh lemon, halved
  • Cold- pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh figs, halved
  • Raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  1. Place the dried mango slices in a sauce pan and add just enough water to cover the mango. Cover the pan and warm it over low heat until the water starts to simmer. Turn off heat and let it stand for an hour or two. Once the mango has fully rehydrated, transfer the fruit and the cooking liquid to a food processor and purée until smooth and velvety. Add more water if needed. This step can be done in advance and any leftover purée can be stirred into sauces, salad dressings, or plain yogurt.
  2. Finely chop some fresh herbs and mash them into the goat cheese. If your lemon is organic, add the zest as well. If the mixture is stiff, add a spoonful of yogurt, a splash of cream, or a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Place the salad greens in a large bowl and lightly dress them by squeezing some lemon juice over the top, along with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and tossing to combine. Taste it and make any necessary adjustments. 
  4. Arrange the salad greens on a serving dish along with the fig halves and hazelnuts. Top with the herbed goat cheese and a few dollops of mango purée.

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