For the past several weeks I’ve been hitting my local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Our local farmers are bringing their delicious fruits and vegetables, and the artisan bakers, honey apiaries, and ranchers are all bringing their best breads, pastries, honey, beef, chicken, pork and eggs. With a cup of coffee in hand, this makes an amazing Saturday morning. Eating locally has its benefits, too.
I realized this past weekend, that the farmers market has nearly every ingredient for one of my most favorite salads. I’ve made this for company, and brought it to potluck events. Inevitability, I am ALWAYS asked for the recipe. Yes, it is that good!
I first had this salad at my Aunt Denise’s house in Vero Beach, FL a couple years ago. It blew my mind!! The sweet, savory flavors mix beautifully with the fresh ingredients. When Denise gave me the recipe, it was entitled “John’s Salad”. Denise came across the recipe from her friend, Sabrina, who got it from John. (I think just about everyone has an amazing recipe that has made a journey from one person’s kitchen, to another.) In my mind, these are some of the best foods we can eat – not only do they taste wonderful, but there is always a great story to go along with it.
Farmers Market Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Denise Beuttell’s “John’s Salad”
1 large head of green leaf lettuce (or two heads of butter lettuce or Boston lettuce)
2 peaches (nectarines or pears are great as well)
3 scallions, chopped
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (blue cheese or Gorgonzola work here, too)
1 c. glazed pecans (I buy the Emerald brand which is already glazed, but you can glaze/candy your own. Directions below)
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper (I do about 4 or 5 turns of the pepper grinder and call it good)
1 c. pecans
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
Melt butter and sugar in pan, add pecans and coat. Spread on to cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes, at 250 degrees until brown. Cool completely before adding to salad.
Assemble the salad by washing and tearing your lettuce. Then add your sliced peaches, scallions, cheese, and pecans. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This makes quite a bit of dressing, add as much or as little as you prefer. I like to pour on individual servings. Refrigerate leftovers (salad and dressing) separately. Your salad won’t be soggy when you eat it the next day.
This salad pairs perfectly with grilled chicken, beef, pork or fish, along with a great glass of Chardonnay!