Monday, December 1, 2008

Pear-Pomegranate Fall Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
It's become tradition for me to make this salad every Thanksgiving -- otherwise my family might bar me from sitting down at the table (if you've ever met my family, you understand). I decided to get a little racy this year and tossed in some whole wheat garlic croutons. I know you're thinking croutons are 'nutritional blasphemy', so I swapped the bread for whole wheat for some wholegrain, higher-fiber goodness. Yes, there's a wee bit of olive oil and butter involved, but 2-3 mini croutons won't set you back too much and they're so freaking good! Everything in balance friends - this salad gets nutritional bonus points...pomegranate seeds are jam-packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and the walnuts are a great soure of healthy omega-3 fats!
Serves 8-10
-1 & 1/2 bags of Mesclun greens
-2 red pears cored and thinly sliced
-1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
-1/3 cup dried cranberries and/or golden raisins
-4oz (1 small log) goat cheese, crumbled (can substitute w. gorgonzola cheese for a stronger flavor)
-1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1.5 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chamapagne vinegar
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ small shallot, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Whisk together mustard and vinegar, slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Add shallot, salt and pepper and whisk until well-blended.

Whole wheat croutons:
1 small whole wheat baguette, cut into small, bite-sized cubes
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp - 1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
fresh rosemary or thyme (about 2 tbsp)
Melt butter in butter over medium heat, add garlic cloves and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in bread, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle in fresh herbs (I used a mix of rosemary and thyme). Stir bread until well-coated. Turn off the heat and transfer croutons to a baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and crisped.

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