So yes it feels more like summer here in Chicago than spring. I’m not complaining. Trust me, NO ONE is complaining.
Outdoor dining tables and umbrellas are popping up all over town. Weekend burgers on the grill are wafting through the air. And my slow cooker is taking a leave of absence in my basement. Heck I even wore a skirt and sandals to work yesterday.
Of course this being Chicago, we may be knee deep in snow next week, so while the going is good, I’m definitely taking advantage of it! For me, that means simple meals on the grill and always a fresh, simple green salad. Simple, as in green greens with a sweet, garlicky white balsamic vinaigrette dressing and sprinkle of fresh goat cheese.
The beauty here is there are no hard and fast rules for the salad. Just keep it green and keep it fresh. Fresh…as NOT salad in a bag. Know there is a time and a place for bagged salads, but this isn’t it. Spring is the time to pick up a bunch of fresh spinach, a head of butter lettuce, romaine, green garlic, tender peas, spring onions and fresh herbs. Then take about 30 seconds of your life and make a fresh homemade vinaigrette. Actually, make a lot of it, because it will keep well in the fridge for weeks and you may quickly reconsider bottled dressings.
Speaking of bottles, a nice Chenin Blanc from South Africa would do quite well with this salad. Maybe a grilled salmon fillet or some sauteed shrimp.
Simple spring is simply…divine.
6 cups fresh greens, rinsed and dried (any combination of spinach, iceberg, romaine, endive or frisee)
2 scallions or spring onions, thinly sliced
1 TBS fresh delicate herbs (parsley, chives, chervil)
1 cup fresh cooked peas or edamame (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
White Balsamic Dressing
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSB Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
- For salad, combine greens until ready to serve.
- To make dressing, place garlic, mustard and vinegar in a glass bowl. Whisk to combine. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper and taste.
- Pour just enough dressing over greens to coat (you will have way more dressing than you need. Just place the remaining dressing in an airtight container and refrigerate). Toss lightly with tongs or salad forks. Place in bowls or on plates. Top with goat cheese and serve with an extra grind of black pepper.