I had intended to make a salad with blue cheese dressing for dinner one night last week in San Francisco. B is a huge fan. He enjoyed the traditional iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and bacon at Buckeye Roadhouse on Sunday. Later in the week, we spent an afternoon at Point Reyes National Park. B and I were both a little disappointed about the trail to the St. Andreas Fault. As improbable as it seems, we both thought we were going to see an actual crack in the ground! The plan had been to have some local oysters for lunch. But, we were running out of day so stopped by the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station and bought a baguette and several cheeses, including a wedge of Point Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese. I assumed B would eat a little of the blue cheese, leaving the rest for us to use in a salad. Not so.
Fortunately, the overrun cheese drawer in my fridge at home held a wedge I had bought a few weeks earlier at Earth Fare. Tonight, this salad from April's Food and Wine was the perfect accompaniment to tonight's grilled chicken.
Chopped Salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese, crumbled
- 2 romaine hearts, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1/2 seedless cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 Fuji apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons thinly shredded basil leaves
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are golden.
- Let the nuts cool, then coarsely chop them.
- In a large bowl, whisk the shallot with the Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and whisk until smooth. Add half of the blue cheese and whisk until the dressing is creamy.
- Add the lettuce, fennel, carrots, cucumber, apple, avocado, basil and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad well to coat with the dressing.
- Top with the remaining blue cheese and serve right away.
Prep time: 20 minutes
I rarely follow a recipe exactly, but saw no reason not to follow this one. The toasted walnuts are a must -- I'll likely increase the quantity next time. The cheese was pungent, the avocado creamy. The lettuce added crispness, the apple sweetness and the carrots a nice crunch. The fennel was completely lost, and I am not sure the cucumber added much. I'll cut that out or decrease the amount next go-round. That said, this is a dandy salad that would work well with simply spiced and grilled pork, chicken or beef.
This post is linked to It's a Keeper Thursday.