French Country Salad

A few weeks ago I got together with my mother-in-law for dinner and a movie.  I wasn’t sure what to order so I let her go first.  She ordered this French Country Salad.  I read the description then ordered the exact same thing – dressing on the side, no beets please.

Now, there are certain people I always trust when they tell me something is good.  My mother-in-law is one of them.  This salad was delicious.  Fresh mixed greens, crunchy candied pecans, tangy goat cheese and asparagus – deliciously fresh sauteéd asparagus.

This past weekend, when she and her boyfriend came to visit us in our new home, it took me only a few moments to decide what salad would accompany our pasta dinner.  It wasn’t at all difficult to reproduce and was just as delicious as I remembered.  Even the boy who doesn’t like salad had seconds.

You wonder how we liked the movie?  It was spectacular.  Bon appétit.

French Country Salad
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You can make anywhere from one serving of this salad to 6.  Just adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly.  If it works out, I’ll sauté the asparagus right before we eat and toss it in the salad warm.  If I don’t have time for that, it can certainly be done ahead, stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat and served cold.  Alternatively, if you’ve got things going on the grill it would be especially delicious grilled then sliced into pieces for the salad. The candied pecans I always make ahead so they have time to cool.  I use this recipe, substituting pecans for walnuts.  They’ll keep in an air-tight container in your cupboard for awhile.

Mixed Greens
Asparagus Spears, washed and dried, cut into 1-inch pieces
Candied Pecans
Goat Cheese
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Balsamic Vinaigrette, homemade or store-bought

1.  Wash the greens.  Set aside.

2.  Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the asparagus spears and cook 3-4 minutes or longer depending on the size of your asparagus.  Cook until crisp-tender.  Empty asparagus onto a plate, season with salt & pepper as necessary.

3.  Add asparagus to greens along with goat cheese and candied pecans.  Toss.  Serve with balsamic vinaigrette on the side.

Source: Anna Maria original, inspired by The Cheesecake Factory

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