Green Even When It’s Not Spring

It’s still winter.  I’ve been hearing a lot of despair about the cold, snowy, dreary weather from friends and family all over the innerwebz.

The consensus seems to be that people are over this winter.

I have good news though! It won’t last much longer.

Still, I get that people are bummed right now. I’m going to try to fix that by infusing a little freshness in your meal plan, even though it’s the middle of winter and this season is not well known for its fresh and vibrant produce.

So I made this salad, and it supplied some much needed freshness while taking advantage of some of the produce winter has to offer. It also helped counteract the plethora of Valentine’s Day goodies I unashamedly consumed. And it is pretty. Because food should be pretty. Take a look-see at this scrumptiousness:Image

Colorful, no?  And did I mention pretty? I did? Just checking.

So, this gorgeousness is a mixed green salad topped with potato croutons and maple Dijon vinaigrette.  And it’s really easy to make.  So easy, in fact, that it almost doesn’t have a recipe because it’s  more of an ingredient list with a couple of enhancements.  It also uses potatoes in a way we don’t usually use them in salads, which helps us avoid the boring salad rut.  Let’s do this.

Mixed Green Salad with Potato Croutons and Maple Dijon Vinagrette

Salad and Potato Croutons

1 medium Yukon Gold potato, diced small (no need to peel)

2 T. Olive oil

1/2 t. dried Thyme

1 container Mixed salad greens (try to get a mix with arugula, spinach, etc.)

1 c. Cherry or Grape tomatoes, halved

2 T. Sunflower seeds, shelled

2 hard boiled Eggs, halved (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Dijon Vinaigrette

3 T. Olive oil

1 T. Rice vinegar (or your favorite vinegar)

1 T. Maple Syrup (Real-deal-Holyfield here, guys. No pancake syrup)

2 t. Dijon mustard

1/4 t. minced Garlic or a pinch of garlic powder

1/4 t. dried thyme

At least 1/4 t. of Kosher salt and ground Black Pepper (plus more to taste)

Preheat oven to 375.

Toss potatoes with 2 T.  of olive oil, 1/2 t. of the thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Cover a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup and roast potatoes for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and cooked through.  You may need to stir them occasionally, just to make sure they are browning nicely.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette by combining 3T olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk or blend with a fork until emulsified.

Place greens on the plate and season with a little of the salt and pepper.  This is a trick many chefs use to make the salads taste so good when you get them in a restaurant.  They season their food in layers, including the greens.  It makes for more balanced flavors.

Sprinkle the halved tomatoes, potato croutons, and sunflower seeds over the top.  Garnish with the hard boiled egg, if using.  Drizzle the dressing over the whole shebang and get ready to eat.

This will serve two main meal salads or four to six side salads.  For a quick and easy dinner, grab a rotisserie chicken and a loaf of crusty bread from the grocery store, make this salad and call it a day.  You can even heat the bread while the potatoes are roasting. Voila!  The, “What’s for dinner?” question is answered. At least for today.

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