Friday, May 23, 2014

Romaine - Nectarine - Havarti Salad

When I lived in Ann Arbor, I loved the local supermarket chain, Busch's. From time to time their recipe creator would come by the store near my house with one of her latest creations. One summer featured this salad. I fell in love with it. I made it so often that summer that I became tired of it. Now I know that if I limit it to once or twice a season, it is always a big hit.
1 head romaine, sliced into narrow strips.
I cut the big leaves vertically into thirds, then slice them to make strips about 2" x 1/8". I usually use less than the whole head or else the result has too much lettuce.
3-4 nectarines, diced ~1/4".
I leave the skin on. If they're big, 3 is enough. When I can't find nice nectarines, I use red grapes (half a pound? a whole pound? I'll have to check next time), sliced in half, or ~2 big oranges, peeled and diced. Peaches are fine, too. I peel the peaches but I don't peel the nectarines.
1/2 lb havarti, diced ~1/4"
Busch's said "lite" but my view is that 1. when they reduce the fat (and the sugar, when there's sugar, not relevant for cheese, of course): A. the result is less favorful, and B. they add things that may be worse than fat or sugar, and 2. if you don't want to eat any fat or sugar, eat celery. Plus it is my understanding that you need some fat to digest and to extract the nutrients from raw greens. The dressing for this salad does not use much fat so you get it from the cheese.
1/3 medium red onion, diced 1/4 "
Busch's said 1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced, but I like the red color and I think matching the size of the cheese and nectarines looks nicer.
  Amounts in original:
1/4 c. apricot fruit spread (I use Smucker's)
3 T cider vinegar
2 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp Tabasco
salt and pepper (utterly unnecesary with the Tabasco)
  My daughter says that this is not enough dressing so I ~double it:
     1/2 c. jam
     ~1/3 c. cider vinegar
     4 tsps walnut oil
     2 tsp Tabasco

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Or forget the whisk and put them all in a jar, cover it, and shake to blend. Add to completed salad or serve on the side.
Put the lettuce in the bowl. Sprinkle on the nectarine, cheese and onion. I do them in sort-of layers. They won't cover the surface so they're always be places where you see all three. WARNING: DO NOT TOSS. If you do, the havarti, which is heavy, ends up on the bottom. Instead, convince the diners to dig down with those salad tongs. I suppose the best thing would be to serve the salad in individual bowls and pass the dressing. Maybe next time for company, I'll do that.
rjm 2003? original lost, re-typed 5/22/06, rev 5/5,23/14

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