Our Favorite Fall Salad

Our Favorite

When the fall weather turns cool and crisp and the days get shorter and darker, we sometimes slip into a blue mood.  We crave sunshine and brightness.   A crisp, balanced salad with tangy-sweet fall flavors is just what the doctor ordered!

We developed this salad to celebrate the the flavors and textures we love — crunchy and aromatic fennel — honey-sweet persimmons — juicy-tart pomegranate seeds — earthy walnuts — and velvety mâche leaves, all tied together with a bright and tangy vinaigrette.

Persimmon and Fennel Salad | Dear Martini

A composed salad is a salad in which each component is seasoned  and dressed individually and then artfully arranged.  It’s an excellent choice for a leisurely lunch.  Take it to the the next level with some grilled shrimp or soft dollops of goat cheese and it becomes a quick and easy dinner.

The Dear Martini method of building the composed salad is also mirrored in our Bite-Sized Technique videos:  you can actually watch a video for each component needed for this salad!  Click on the blue links to jump to each technique video — we promise you’ll learn something awesome!

 

Persimmon, Fennel, and Mâche Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Serves 4

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

½  teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon minced shallot

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¾  cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced

½ fennel bulb and fronds, bulb thinly sliced and fronds chopped

4 cups mâche lettuce

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup toasted walnuts

To make the vinaigrette:  In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, thyme, and shallot with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue whisking until dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Just before you are ready to serve, season and dress with vinaigrette each of the salad ingredients in separate bowls and then arrange on a platter or individual plates.

 

How to Make a Composed Salad recipe video thumbnail

 

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Salad Days

Salad days are here!  Sometimes we fall into a rut during the winter months and serve the same boring salad over and over – how about you?  Here is my newest salad inspiration – thanks to a basket of perfectly ripe juicy summer blueberries that weren’t going to last until morning – what to do with them before they went south?  Salad!

Blueberry & Pickled Red Onion Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
  • 1/3 cup pickled red onions (see recipe below)
  • 5 to 6 handfuls of your favorite summer greens, washed and spun dry
  • ¼ cup vinaigrette (I added parsley & thyme to mine)
  • Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper

Toss greens and blueberries in separate bowls with just enough vinaigrette to coat.  Season greens with salt and pepper to taste.  Mound greens on individual plates and sprinkle with berries and a mound of pickled red onions.

Salad Notes

Greens

Delicate greens need a little special attention especially after making the trip home in a warm car.  Don’t just throw them in the fridge…. For best results when you get home place the greens in a bowl of ice water to wash and then dry in batches in a salad spinner.  Lay the leaves out on paper towels and then roll up the paper towels and place in a plastic bag.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  When you take the greens out they will be cool, crispy, and DRY.   (soggy salads suck!)

Hate making too much salad?  I usually plan on a handful (approximately 1 cup) of greens per person plus 1 or 2 extra for the bowl – the perfect amount every time.

And, don’t forget to season the greens.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you toss in the vinaigrette.  Taste and adjust as needed.

Fruit

Tired of tomatoes?  Some people think it is a little weird to add fruit to green salads but the combination of sweet and tart is perfect.  Blueberries, strawberries, and melons are great additions to a summer salad.

Pickled Onions

I don’t usually like raw onions in salads, but I love pickled onions. They are great anywhere you would use raw onions… especially hamburgers and hot dogs.   Super easy to make (don’t tell anyone) AND they make you look like a culinary rock star.  The same method can be used to quick pickle cherries (yum!)  See recipe below.

Vinaigrette

Don’t over dress!  It seems like it always takes less vinaigrette than you think to give a salad a nice light coating.  Add a couple of tablespoons, toss, add more vinaigrette if needed.  Remember the longer the greens sit after being dressed, the more they will be weighed down by the vinaigrette.  Always toss just before serving.

Chilled Plates

Okay, I admit it,  I’m a freak for a chilled plate.  Chilled plates are optional –but always a pleasant surprise.