August 7, 2013

Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad

Wishes DO come true!! I woke up to a suspiciously chilly house and a cloudy sky... turned the air conditioner off and it still wouldn't warm up... Checked the weather: The high today is only in the 70's! And it's supposed to be rainy and cooler all week!! *Happy Dance* A rainy week, hooray!! Oh my goodness, I'm so excited!! It's about time.

Now, when I started planning Blueberry Week, I felt a little guilty for giving you a whole week of sweet treats... it's been a while since I've done that... Luckily, I had this amazing salad at a friend's house way back at Easter, and have been looking for an excuse to make it ever since. Oh, and it just happened to have blueberries in it! Score!!


Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad (inspired by Jaime Thomas)
Printable Recipe

Lettuce (I like Spring Mix best, it's pretty and tasty!)
crumbled goat cheese
fresh blueberries

Poppyseed Vinaigrette:
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 large shallot peeled and cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp brown/dijon mustard

Blend all ingredients together for about 30 seconds in blender/food processor. Stir in 3 tsp poppyseeds. Chill in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Spiced Candied Pecans: (adapted slightly from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)
1 cup walnuts
½ cup sugar
½ tsp chile powder
½ tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp salt

Combine sugar with the spices. Place into a saucepan and turn on medium heat. Watch carefully to see the sugar start to melt and caramelize around the edges of the pan (the sugar in the middle won't be melted yet). When that happens throw in the walnuts and stir. When they are coated in caramel spread onto a pan that has been covered in parchment paper. Once it is completely cooled, break into pieces.

*Here's the deal. Candying nuts is hard. I made these suckers six times. The way that worked best for me was actually to combine the sugar and nuts in a frying pan and constantly stir them while the sugar melted. They were still a bit darker and less clear than I would have liked them, but completely delicious. I've read a dozen recipes. Some say don't stir, some say stir. Some say add nuts last, like this one, others say add nuts from the beginning. I wish I could say I came up with a fool-proof method for you, but alas, I did not. Be careful that your temp isn't too high, and work as fast as you can. Good luck!!*

Isn't it beautiful?? I love all those colors!! A total showstopper, truly. You can actually make this with any variation of nuts and fruit you want, like walnuts and strawberries or something.
My favorite part of this salad, absolutely, is the goat cheese. Goat cheese is pretty tangy by itself, but somehow when you mix it with the tangy dressing, it transforms into creamy little nuggets of heaven!!
Crispy greens, sweet blueberries, tart and tangy and mustardy dressing, (which the Geologist and I are both in love with!!) plus those luxurious bits of goat cheese and spicy-salty-sweet crunchtastic nuts make for a truly elegant, delicious, gorgeous salad! In fact, I had it for lunch the next day. That's right, me, I ate leftover salad for lunch. And loved every bite. :) 


5 comments :

  1. Beautiful salad April. I used to candy my nuts in the oven when I worked at the Manor. They always turned out perfectly. I love goat's cheese and I love blueberries. This salad would really please me. I made a salad with goat's cheese this week too! Great minds and all that! xxoo

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  2. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    April! Your site is beautiful :0)
    And you banner . . . well, it's down-right adorable and so unique!
    Now on to your salad! It's gorgeous!
    I think the mild flavor of blueberries would be quite refreshing on a salad.
    And your dressing and candied pecans . . . well, they sound down-right delicious!
    Please come by and see my Blackberry Walnut Salad!
    http://simplysuzannes.blogspot.com/2013/06/blackberry-walnut-salad.html

    Happy to be a new follower,
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne!! Sorry for the late reply, thank you so much for your comment!
      That banner took weeks and weeks of design negotiation with my sister,
      she's the photoshop genius. She helped me put together my whole blog
      layout. I have tweaked it here and there since, and I am in love with it.
      Also in love with this salad, so I'm glad you enjoyed that too! Thanks for
      the follow, I'll head right over and take a look at that salad! :) So nice
      to have you here!
      ~April

      PS- I tried to send this to your email, but it said it was full!

      Delete
  3. It looks great! Better than the original!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the inspiration and recipe Jaime! :)
      ~April

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