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Healthy Eating, Salads

Field salad with fresh balsamic vinaigrette

Field salad with fresh balsamic vinaigrette
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Shaun Murphy was facing a chef's worst nightmare: a dining room full of guests and nothing to feed them. And running around the corner to the market was absolutely out of the question. Murphy was cooking aboard a train that ... Read more

Total time: 20 minutes, plus soaking and cooling time | Serves 4

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1In a food processor or blender, pulse together the mustard and garlic until finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, then the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and thyme. Adjust the vinegar if desired and season to taste. This makes a generous cup dressing, more than is required for this recipe; the remaining dressing will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Salad and assembly

  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups mesclun lettuce
  • Prepared balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 pound goat cheese

Step 1Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2In a small bowl, soak the raisins in water to cover until plump, 30 minutes to 1 hour, then drain and set aside.

Step 3While the raisins are soaking, spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven just until golden brown, not dark, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-toast or the nuts will burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Step 4Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the raisins and nuts. Add the dressing a couple of tablespoons at a time, tossing in just enough to coat the salad lightly. Pile the salad on each of 4 small salad plates and evenly top with crumbled goat cheese.

Note: Adapted from Shaun Murphy from the book "From the Dining Car" by James D. Porterfield. Served on the private rail car the Scottish Thistle.


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