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Charming Salads

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Bring a touch of whimsy to your tables with my trio of charming salads.

Its widely known that you eat with your eyes first.  Making fresh greens look really pretty is fast and you can easily add protein like fish or chicken to any of the salads for a main course option.

Darling salads are so simple you can craft them for weeknight meals or special guests.

Using fresh ingredients in a thoughtful way can produce charming results!

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Birds Nest Salad

6 cups spring greens

1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 cup blueberries

1 cup Chow Mein noodles

2 ounces fresh chevre

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Dressing

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1 small garlic clove pressed

Pinch salt

Pinch pepper

Make goat cheese eggs by scooping 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese and roll it in the palm of your hand to create and oval shape.  Repeat the process until you have made 12 eggs.  Keep the goat cheese eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  To prepare dressing, mix all ingredients in the bottom of salad bowl with a whisk until emulsified. Add greens to the bowl and toss well to coat.  Place greens in a mound on 4 salad plates. Place 1/4 cup of the noodles in the center of each lettuce mound to create the birds nest. Place the tomatoes around the edge of the salad and sprinkle blueberries to resemble flowers.  Arrange 3 eggs in each nest. Put turmeric in a fine mesh sieve and shake over all the eggs to give them speckles. Serve at once.

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Turnip Bundle Salads

2 large red onions, peeled

1 head butter lettuce, washed

6 steps bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/3 cup candied pecans

Blue Cheese Dressing

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/3 cup blue cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut ends off the onions. Using a knife cut through the first 3 layers of onion and carefully peel them from the onion core. This will form the base and resemble a turnip. Repeat with second onion.  Discard the onion cores. Arrange bacon and pecans on the serving platter. Place the 6 onion rings on the platter. Place 4 lettuce leaves inside of each onion ring base; lettuce will stand tall and resemble a turnip in the ground. Prepare dressing by placing all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Serve dressing on the side.

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Purple Flower Salad

2 mini purple lettuce heads

1 cup carrot matchsticks

1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

1/4 dried cranberries

Balsamic Vinaigrette

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of both salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Hold each lettuce head in your hand and cut the bottom root off.  Hold the head firmly as you run cold water through the bundle to clean the lettuce.  Place bundle in the center of a serving platter and release it so the leaves form a circle.  Repeat with second bundle on top of the first one creating the flower petals. Place the carrots in the center of the lettuce flower and spread them out a bit.  Mound the yellow peppers in the center of the carrots.  Next, place the walnuts then cranberries on top of the vegetables; you will create rings of color. To prepare the dressing, add vinegar, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.  Add olive oil in a steady stream whisking vigorously until it is all mixed and you have a silky dressing.  Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.

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Lorie Fangio | A Taste of Paris

Meet Lorie Fangio

Lorie Fangio is a teaching chef and the founder of A Taste of Paris culinary excursions. She shares her extensive knowledge of French food & culture through cooking classes, regular TV appearances, local publications, and speaking engagements. She is an award-winning food & lifestyle blogger with a zest for gathering people around a table.

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