Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds
I think one could put toasted almonds on anything and I would eat it. This mixed greens with goat cheese and toasted almonds is no exception. The combination of the toasted almonds, goat cheese, red peppers and cucumbers held together by some fresh greens and dressed in a very simple mustard vinaigrette is divine. Next time someone invites you over to her home, offer to bring this salad. It’s pretty, particularly during the holidays. It’s also easy, and people are always impressed. I started making this several years ago, and now it’s hard for me to bring anything other than this salad to people’s homes because it’s that popular. Trust me on this one.
This post is going to be a short one because, well, I’ve got lots to do! I was at a beautiful wedding in a fabulous venue in DUMBO, Brooklyn last night where the brides were beautiful, there was great Greek food and an awesome D.J. and a super cool crowd. Thus, I am bit bleary eyed this morning. But, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping. I’ve got people coming over for dinner tonight, and I haven’t bought the food yet. I should probably wrap some gifts today too. Makes me think I need a list…
But before I’m off on my errands with two kids in tow, a word about the dressing for this salad. I feel like there are a few common missteps people make with salad dressings. One is over-dressing it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. You’d be surprised how far a little dressing can go. Two to three tablespoons can dress a whole bowlful of greens. I always make the dressing and add a little at a time, taste it and add more if necessary. Usually it isn’t necessary.
The second misstep is too much vinegar. Just drizzle a little in as is done in the picture. It’s not a 1:1 to ratio of oil to vinegar. It’s more like 8 or 10:1.
Finally, if you use a tasty mustard like my favorite, Pommery Mustard Meaux Moutarde (that I’ve blogged about before), it will take your dressing to the next level. It’s not cheap, but the mustard container is larger than life, lasts you for months and is not just tasty in dressing.
So those almonds. Toast them in a little olive oil stovetop, hovering over the stove. When it begins to get fragrant (My kids usually ask me if I am making popcorn!), stir them for just a little more so they are lightly browned. If you walk away, you will burn them. Trust me, I’ve done this many a time. Usually because I’ve been forced to respond to a toddler who has miraculously scaled a table in 2 seconds flat or spilled water while pretending to be a puppy drinking from a bowl. Once they are browned, dump them directly onto the greens. This ensures that the almond infused oil gets into the mix and is another reason why less dressing is more!
- 1 container of pre-washed mixed greens
- 1 small or ½ large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
- half of a red pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp goat cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼-1/3 cup almonds, toasted in olive oil on stove top
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine mixed greens, cucumber, red pepper and goat cheese in salad bowl.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in small non-stick pan (to coat) on medium heat. Toast almonds for approximately 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until sizzling and starting to brown. Careful, the moment the browning begins you’ve got about 3-60 seconds to take it off the heat.
- Pour the nuts and oil directly on top of mixed greens (key step because you’ve added the essence of the almonds to the hot olive oil!).
- Combine dressing ingredients and whisk together so that the mustard is evenly distributed. Dress less than 10 minutes before serving.