Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome Spring Salad

Sipping on my cappuccino this morning, I decided I am ready for spring, and the good news is that it is here....on the calendar anyway. Sunny temperate days are starting to become common as they coax the buds from their deep winters sleep. Bicyclers are everywhere, as well as families with baby carriages. The beach has joggers and kids with kites. Before we know it, the roar of lawnmowers will fill the air....(moan).....Instead of craving heavy food, I want light and sunny salads. I made a salad of arugula and basil with grilled chicken, and topped it with a cherry orange vinaigrette. Toss on a few toasted pine nuts and you have Spring on a plate. The garnish of bright orange and star fruit let my mind drift to the warmer climate to come.

Arugula Basil Salad With Chicken and Cherry Orange Vinaigrette

6 ounces arugula, rinsed
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1 boneless chicken breast, grilled and sliced into strips
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
For the garnish, you'll need 1/2 orange, sliced and star fruit slices.

Place arugula
and thinly sliced basil in a salad bowl.Divide salad onto four plates and top with the grilled chicken and toasted pine nuts. Arrange star fruit and orange slices along the side of salad. Top with Cherry Orange Vinaigrette salad dressing and serve.
Makes 4 servings.

Cherry Orange Vinaigrette

1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup dried cherries
zest of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of sugar to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

Peel the zest from 1/2 orange using a vegetable peeler, avoiding any white pith. Cut the zest into very thin strips and set aside.
Put orange juice and dried cherries in a small saucepan. Gently simmer on medium heat until the orange juice has reduced to 1/8 cup. Add sliced orange zest, sugar, salt and cayenne and then let cool to room temperature. Stir in the vinegar and then whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
Makes 1/2 cup vinaigrette.

Written and photographed by Diane.

Download Recipe Arugula Basil Salad With Chicken and Cherry Orange Vinaigrette (pdf)

Download Recipe Cherry Orange Vinaigrette (pdf)

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