Festive Holiday Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Hello!

The holidays are fast approaching and it’s not too early to start meal planning. While many dishes during this time of year are baked, roasted and otherwise cooked to death, wouldn’t it be nice to include a fresh, green, festive salad? This salad is based on one my family enjoys every time we go to Community Pie for pizza but I thought the combo of cranberries, almonds and Parmesan would make it a nice addition to a holiday table (I added the fennel).

I used the Awesome Asian & Lettuce Salad Mix for this salad but you could use just about anything. You could base it on one single green, such as kale, or mix together a few greens. I think kale, Swiss chard, Asian greens and mustard greens would taste great together (and would make the perfect family sized salad for Thanksgiving!).

The dressing for this salad is flavorful enough to bind the whole thing together but mild enough to let the flavor of the greens come through. You don’t have to use champagne vinegar if you don’t already have it on hand – white wine vinegar would work well here too.

Festive Holiday Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
makes about 4 side servings

Recipe notes: the dressing will likely make more than you will need for this recipe; however, it will keep for a couple weeks in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot, from 1 small shallot
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinaigrette
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 bag of Awesome Asian & Lettuce Mix
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (grated on the large wholes of a box grater)
  • 1/2 small head of fennel, core removed and sliced very thin

Directions:

  • Combine shallot, mustard, maple syrup and champagne vinaigrette in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Whisk in salt, taste, and adjust flavorings as needed.
  • Roughly chop the greens and add to a large serving bowl. Top with almonds, cranberries, Parmesan and fennel and toss to combine. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of dressing, taste, adding more dressing if needed. Serve immediately.

 


Mustard Greens Soup with Poblanos and Almonds

Hello,

The combination of mustard greens, poblanos and almonds may seem like a strange mix at first but I urge you to give it a try. The toasty, roasty almonds and poblanos provide depth whereas the greens compliment with a bright, fresh flavor.

This recipe is lightly adapted from this one by Rick Bayless. He doesn’t puree all of the soup as I recommend below, but instead leaves about half of the ingredients roughly chopped and mixed into the rest. I like to puree all of the soup for simplicity and then get some textural contrast from the garnishes.

Enjoy!

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblano and Almonds
makes about 6 cups / 4-6 servings

Recipe note: you can use other greens in place of mustard greens – arugula, kale, collards, Swiss chard or even chickweed, dead nettle or henbit.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, plus a few extra for garnish if you wish
  • medium fresh poblano chiles
  • medium (about 1/2 pound) Yukon Gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • bunch (about 8 ounces) mustard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups vegetable stock or water, plus a little more if needed
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Garnishes: I suggest a mix of something fatty (diced hard-boiled eggs, avocado) plus something crunchy (tortilla chips, extra almonds) but you could also use diced tofu, mushrooms, chicken or shrimp.

Directions:

  • Toast almonds in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Adjust oven rack to the upper third of the oven and heat the broiler on high. Remove the stem end and seeds from the poblanos and cut into quarters lengthwise (you may need to cut them into smaller pieces to ensure they lay flat). Place on a foil lined sheet pan and broil until the skin is black and blistered, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and peel skin from the peppers. Add to a blender jar and set aside.
  • Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, potatoes, and garlic and boil for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the mustard greens and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1-2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, scoop almonds, potatoes, garlic and greens into a blender jar and set aside.
  • Add 2-1/2 cups of stock or water, salt and lime juice to the blender and puree on high until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add more stock or water to reach desire consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • If you plan to serve immediately, transfer to an empty saucepan and heat gently over medium-low until warm. Top with garnish of choice and serve.