Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Salad Made With Romaine, Fresh Peaches, Blackberries, Mozzarella, Candied Pecans and Home Made Poppy Seed Dressing - This Is For You Jaley!

A very talented young friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had gone to the grocery last night and gone a little overboard on buying peaches and wondered what she could do with them.  I told her it looked like there was a cobbler or crisp in her future.  Or perhaps, a salad with peaches.

Jaley, this is for you!  I created this salad recently when our family came over for dinner.  I had lots of South Carolina peaches on hand and a pint of fresh blackberries.  I am always trying to think up new ways to makes salads because, let's face it, the same old vegetable salads get old and bo-ring!

This salad has romaine lettuce, fresh peaches, fresh blackberries, candied pecans and fresh mozzarella cheese that has been cut into bite sized cubes.  To go with it, I made a home made poppy seed dressing that is so good I could probably drink it with a straw.

Here is what you need for the salad:

1 head romaine lettuce
2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (or more if desired)
3/4 cups fresh blackberries (or a couple of handfuls if you don't want to measure)
1/2 cup pecans
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite sized cubes

First, you want to candy your pecans.  Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium to low heat.  Add the brown sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon until it melts.  Add the pecans and stir until the sugar starts to cling to the pecans.  Remove pan from heat and let cool.  Be careful not to burn your pecans.  They take on a wonderful toasted caramel flavor that is divine.  Just don't eat them all before you add them to the salad.

Cut or tear your romaine lettuce and add to a large salad bowl.  Peel, pit and slice the peaces, add to the greens.  Add the blackberries and the pecans.  Cut the mozzarella into bite sized cubes and add to the salad.  Toss.

Now, you will definitely want to make this fabulous poppy seed dressing.  Here is what you need:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp champagne vinegar (available at most groceries)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp poppy seeds (available in the spice aisle, most groceries)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp grated sweet onion

Mix the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake, shake, shake.  Or whisk together in a bowl.  Serve in a small pitcher or bowl, or  you could pass out straws.
The crunch of those little poppy seeds with the tangy sweetness of the dressing is the perfect compliment to this salad.  Also, there are no preservatives or msg. like you get in bottled dressings.

If you have other greens instead of romaine, feel free to substitute.  Just don't overwhelm the fruit with greens.  You want a nice balance.  You could also substitute feta, blue cheese, or a nice smoked gouda for the mozzarella, but the creamy goodness of the mozzarella is so good with the fruit, you might want to reconsider.  It's your choice.

Who doesn't appreciate cool and crunchy food in this hot, muggy, humid weather?  This salad fits the bill.  There is no cooking required except for the pecans and you could leave them plain if you wanted -  it just wouldn't be quite the same if you know what I mean.

So Jaley, give this salad a try.  I think you will really like it and let me know what you think.  I've got your back girl!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

"An apple is an excellent thing -- until you have tried a peach."
George du Maurier (1834-1896)

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