This recipe is great because it doesn’t try to be a summer salad–it has robust winter flavors of bacon, cranberry, and apple with a dash of maple. I served a massive bowl of it for my son’s birthday party and when it almost all went along with everything else, I knew it was a hit! I bought a 4-pack of wide-mouth mason jars at the supermarket and use them all the time to shake up my dressings.
It is the time of year when a salad is a prerequisite for picnics, gatherings, parties, beach days and even just dinner! I make a ton of salads this time of year because of the crisp and buttery greens we get from our farm. We wait all year for the Boston and red leaf lettuce in particular. So I have tried out many salad dressing recipes, and it is hard to make a bad one honestly. Even just good balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil does a great salad justice. But here are two dressings that I have made time and time again, and that have received raves from my guests. The chive vinaigrette is fresh and tangy and the buttermilk ranch is creamy, herbaceous and you won’t even pick out the cilantro but it adds a special necessary flavor. I don’t even normally like cilantro and I love it in this dressing! But if you are really opposed to it, and I won’t judge you, use fresh dill. To make it extra fun for the chef, invest in a set of wide-mouth mason jars or a salad dressing cruet, and a mini whisk.
I just recently started making this salad, and already it has become a favorite! The combination of the sweet but not-too-sweet pears, the hearty walnuts and the unmistakable blue cheese makes this a winner and something you can do for a light lunch or with a soup for a casual dinner party. I have served it with red saucy Italian fare, a roast chicken dinner, or on its own. If you don’t care for blue cheese, the salad is interesting enough to just omit it, or try cubing some Gruyere. Champagne vinegar for the dressing can be found in your regular grocery store, I even found it at Target in the grocery department one time, so give it a try!
This recipe really made my weekend when I made it for my husband’s family. Just a few months ago, my sister-in-law had just given birth to her second adorable son and we all gathered at my in-law’s place for a casual Mother’s Day potluck and to chat about the newest member of the family. I knew that the kids might pass on this dish since it is still salad after all, but the adult reaction far exceeded anything I expected! I got three requests for the recipe, so here you go! This dish is easiest made in the summertime, when you can get your hands on ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, fresh green beans and sweet cucumbers. You may see the prep time and think that’s too long to make a salad, but it’s really a whole meal in your most giant bowl!