Saturday, July 7, 2012

Nectarine and Blue Cheese Salad

(This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with Meijer Ad 7/8/12 - 7/14/12)

This simple salad was inspired by one I saw on Rachael Ray's website.  I've wanted to make it for a few weeks now but our nectarines keep disappearing!  The combination of fruit and cheese reminded me of this salad, but with a shorter ingredient list.  I added walnuts for some crunch, and I wasn't a big fan of Rachael's suggested dressing, so I used an old favorite instead.  The result was amazingly delicious, if I do say so myself!  The main ingredients are on sale at Meijer this week, but you can also find lettuce and nectarines at your local farmer's market this time of year.

1 bag (6-12 oz, depending on the variety of lettuce...choose something with only lettuce, no added carrots or radishes) mixed lettuces OR baby spinach
2 nectarines, thinly sliced (16-20 slices per nectarine)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 oz (approx 1/3 C) +/- crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 C vegetable or olive oil
1/3 C vinegar
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp dry minced onion
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
dash salt

Wisk together the dressing ingredients.  Store in a container that you can shake, because it will separate easily.  Refrigerate until serving.  Toss together the nectarine slices and lemon juice.  Layer (or toss) lettuce, nectarines, blue cheese, and walnuts.  Top (or toss) with desired amount of dressing.  Serve immediately.

Options and Tips
  • This formula of ingredients worked well, but the amounts can be adjusted according to your family's taste.  If you like more crunch, add more walnuts.  If you like more lettuce and less "stuff", go ahead and tear up some romaine or iceberg to add to the mix. Need some extra sweetness?  Add a few more slices of nectarine.
  • You could tear your own lettuce instead of buying the bagged version...using 3/4 to whole head of iceberg will save you some money.
  • You can prep the nectarines early and store them in the fridge.  Tossing them with lemon juice prevents browning, so they should be OK for at least a few hours.  
  • Blue cheese is really strong, so you don't need a lot...but if you like that strong flavor, toss some more on top of the salad.  I chose 2 oz as the amount I wanted to use after finding a 4 oz container of crumbled blue cheese in the deli.  That amount seemed to balance out the sweetness of the nectarines, and now I can make another salad with what's left of the cheese.
  • This dressing is delicious and can be used on a variety of salads. The only thing I don't like about it is that it separates easily, so it has to be shaken vigorously before pouring. I prepare and store it in a Tupperware Quick Shake Container, which helps cut down on dishes and a potential mess!
  • You most likely will NOT need all of the dressing for one salad.  Store leftover dressing in the fridge and use it on your favorite salad recipe...or maybe on another Nectarine and Blue Cheese Salad!
    This is a somewhat original recipe :)

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