By Emily Malloy
We, as a society, need to be honest as to the health of our relationship with salads. If salads aren't getting the shaft as being an afterthought, they are simply the part of the meal we often have to endure in order to get to the more appetizing portions.
What if I told you that it doesn't have to be that way? Would you believe me if I told you that this salad recipe has been called "fancy salad," "the best thing I've ever eaten," "the only thing I need," "amazing," and countless other stirring compliments? It's true.
It is time we rethink the treatment of poor salads.
This recipe was inspired by one of my most treasured snacks: cream cheese stuffed dates, wrapped in salami. A strange trio it may be, but it is delightful to eat nonetheless.
I have been to endless potlucks and have brought all sorts of contributions and, never... NEVER... have I been pulled aside, cross-examined for details, or hugged more than when I brought this salad to a First Saturday Supper Club in my parish. Simply put, it is a fun marriage of flavors and textures that beautifully enhance each other.
I am teeming with anticipation as I share this joy with you.
Date, Goat Cheese, and Salami Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing
Yields: 8-10 servings (main dish) 15+ servings (side dish)
Time: 30 minutes
For the Salad
11 ounces spinach and spring Mix
1 pound Brussels Sprouts, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A pinch (or two) salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces pitted Neglet Door Dates, chopped
5 ounces roasted and salted shelled pistachios
7 ounces hard salami, chopped
8 ounces goat cheese/chevre, crumbled
1 1/2 cups bagel chips
Maple Balsamic Dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1. In a pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the yellow mustard, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. The Brussels should be nicely browned. Set aside to cool (approximately 10-15 minutes).
2. Combine all of the ingredients for the maple dressing (I like using a Mason Jar with a lid to shake!).
3. In a large salad bowl, toss all of the ingredients together (once the Brussels have cooled to room temperature). The wondrous toppings may have the tendency to sink to the bottom of the bowl, but if you bring them back to the top, they should happily stay!