Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby Greens with Pear, Pecans, and Ginger Dressing

One of the things I really like about this cookbook is that with so many recipes to choose from, I can almost always find something to do with the ingredients I have on hand.  I just look in the index under a particular ingredient, and I find a recipe I can easily put together.  So it was with "Baby Greens with Pear, Pecans, and Ginger Dressing" on page 54.  Although I didn't have baby greens on hand, I did have fresh spinach, which I figured would work just as well, and it did.  This salad reminded me of a Waldorf salad, with the nuts, fruit, and celery.  But the dressing was definitely the star of the show.  Slightly sweet, zingy (ginger), and mildly spicy (cayenne), the flavors were more than vibrant, and a perfect topping for delicate greens.  The recipe calls for sherry vinegar, but I thought my Asian Blackberry Balsamic, which is sweet and fruity, with a hint of ginger, would be even better, so I used that.  The only challenge was how to replace the 1/3 cup of olive oil, which made up more than half the volume of the dressing.  Since the dressing had so many strong flavors, I decided I could just use water instead, and add a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of guar gum to help thicken it up.  This worked like a charm.  I like this salad and the dressing, and will put this on my list of repeatables.

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