By Kelly Bogard
I heard through the grapevine that it’s swimsuit season, and many are headed to the beach and the pool as the mercury starts to rise. Just saying the word “swimsuit” makes me cringe, and I know others feel the same way. Although many are close to being ready, that doesn’t mean that they starved themselves to get there. So this week, I thought I would share a light and bright salad that will taste good and make you feel good, too. I call it my Summer Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette.
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For the salad, you will need…
Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
Feta cheese[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=”vertical-align:text-top;”]
And for the dressing, you will need…
1 pint fresh blackberries, rinsed
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar or fine white wine vinegar[/wpcol_1half_end]Since your salad will just need to be tossed together, let’s work on the dressing first. Place the blackberries in a sauce pan and reduce over medium heat. You will want to stir and muddle as it reduces so the mixture doesn’t burn.
The blackberries will cook down similar to the consistency of a cranberry sauce. Once all of the large pieces have broken down, pour the juice through a strainer, lightly pressing down on the remaining fruit with the back of a spoon to release any leftover juice. You should end up with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of blackberry syrup. Keep in mind, it will be a little thick since you are breaking down the natural sugars in the fruit by heating it. Set it aside to cool a bit. Fun fact: The individual pieces of fruit that make up a blackberry are called drupelets, which break down when heated to render an amazing, tart juice.
While your syrup is cooling, combine the honey, oil and vinegar. Champagne vinegar is made from champagne grapes and can be hard to find, unless you have access to a high-end grocer. It also can be a little expensive. I would suggest using fine white wine vinegar as a substitute. It is more readily available, has the extract of champagne grapes and is lighter on the wallet. For the honey, I’d suggest using a raw honey as it has more flavor. I use Kelley’s Honey from Greenville, Texas. They have more than 100 years of honey experience–and I like the name. Now it’s time to add the blackberry syrup. Whisk or shake the mixture vigorously so that everything gets combined. Just like any oil and vinegar dressing, it will separate over time. So, the better it is mixed to start with, the better favor you’ll get.
Now for the salad. There are no exact measurements for the salad. In fact, if your house is anything like mine, everyone wants different amounts of each part. First, make a bed in the bottom of your bowl with the baby spinach. Then add the Granny Smith apple slices. Finally, sprinkle with feta cheese and slivered almonds. Drizzle the salad with your homemade dressing, and you’re ready to serve.
See how simple that was? It doesn’t taste simple at all, though! As always, I hope you have fun with this recipe. Don’t stress too much about that swimsuit. If all else fails, you can always wear a cute cover-up like I plan to. From all of us at Table Top, enjoy!
P.S. Do you have any recipes or ideas you want me to try? Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try my best to get it in soon.
Recipe: Summer Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette
Summary: A light and bright Spinach Salad with a sweet Blackberry Vinaigrette
Cooking time (duration): 10 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 8-10