Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quick Dish: Marie's Salad

Marie is my lovely mother and this is her, and my, favorite salad. Whenever I go home, it's pretty much a given that I'll find feta in the fridge and dried cranberries in the cupboard, ready for that night's dinner. We alway sprinkle in some toasted pine nuts for crunch, but pecans are another great option; dried cherries are a delicious stand-in, as well. And here's our little secret - soak the dried fruit in some good red wine for about 15 minutes before tossing everything together. It plumps them up and lends a wonderfully deep flavor to the salad...and drinking the cranberry-sweetened wine isn't half bad, either.

Marie's Salad
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup good red wine
1/2 cup pine nuts

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey mustard
Salt and pepper
5 tbsp. olive oil

Soak the cranberries in the wine for about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Drink the wine when no one's looking.

Chop the romaine roughly and arrange in a big salad bowl. Sprinkle the feta, cranberries and pine nuts. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream until emulsified.

When ready to serve, give the vinaigrette another quick whisk to combine and drizzle over the salad.

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