Let’s count the ways this salad is classified as gourmet in my book:
1) It comes from my sister-in-law, Mary, who is the epitome of classy gourmet. (Can you tell I have some talented sisters-in-law or what??)
2) It involves homemade croutons which can be classified as manna from above, in my opinion. I love me some homemade croutons. (Check out the homemade crouton how-to below the recipe.)
3) It is topped with a delicious homemade red wine vinaigrette that my husband may or may not love enough to drink straight from the jar. Sick, but true.
4) It looks so beautiful you could serve this at a dinner party and I swear everyone would forget what was served as the main dish. It’s that good.
5) It has such a unique combination of add-ins that compliment each other perfectly (my favorite bites? sweet, juicy pear, tender greens and Parmesan cheese…oh, yum).
6) It involves bacon. Enough said.
You may think salad is just plain ol’ salad, but wait until you try this gem. You just might decide to go gourmet every day.
Note: Mary serves this with candied nuts as well. I am not a huge fan of sugary sweet nuts but if that is your fancy, feel free to throw some in!
- 10-12 cups mixed greens (I use the large rectuangular box from Sam’s Club)
- 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 ripe, fresh pears, sliced thinly (you can also use fresh strawberries, raspberries, or apples)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced Parmesan cheese (I grab my big block of Parmesan cheese and use my vegetable peeler to slice of thin peels of Parmesan)
- 1 large carrot (or about 5-6 baby carrots), thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 5-7 slices of bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped
- 3 cups of homemade croutons (see below for a how-to*)
- 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup red onions, finely grated (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups canola oil
- For the salad, put mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Top with other ingredients and toss. Serve with red wine vinaigrette dressing below (or any other favorite salad dressing).
- For the dressing, add all ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend well. While processing, slowly add the canola oil and blend well. Transfer dressing to a jar or cruet. It keeps well in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks (although I’ve found it gets a little thick if it is too cold so I’ll pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to help thin it out before I use it if it has been in the refrigerator for several days).
Recipe Source: my sister-in-law, Mary
Ok, the dealio with homemade croutons is that they are 100 times tastier than store-bought and require minimal effort. I don’t stress over what kind of bread to use. I open up my freezer and pull out baked rolls or homemade hamburger buns I’ve been storing there. A delicious rustic ciabatta loaf works well, too. Basically, I don’t think you can go wrong if you use a hearty, sturdy loaf or roll that won’t fall apart on you.
For today’s purpose, I am using some homemade buns I used with this recipe (subbing whole wheat for half the flour). Start by cutting them into about 1/2-inch strips.