This salad is classic as a starter or as a side dish with grilled food. (When served as a side dish with fish, it might be better to omit the cheese.)
Consider the mustard vinaigrette used here a starting point. When shaken vigorously, it forms a thick emulsion. You can easily tweak it by using malt vinegar, tarragon vinegar or lemon juice instead of sherry vinegar. A little lemon thyme will give it a mild, lemony taste. Oregano, parsley or even dill might also work.
- 7 1/2 ounces mixed salad greens
- 2 to 3 tablespoons skinned and chopped hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (see headnote)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme leaves (optional; may substitute regular thyme)
- 1 dash regular or low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 to 4 ounces goat cheese (see headnote)
Place the greens in ice water to crisp up while you prepare the dressing. If the water is not cold, toss in some ice cubes, but do that before adding the greens, or rinse the ice cubes in water first. (Used straight from the freezer, they might slightly burn the greens.)
Toast the chopped nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, until just fragrant. Remove from the heat.
To make the vinaigrette, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, thyme and soy sauce in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously to form an emulsion.
Dry the greens well, either using a salad spinner or patting the leaves with a clean dish towel. Transfer to a salad bowl.
Just before serving, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.
Divide among individual plates. Sprinkle each portion with the nuts and pinches of goat cheese (to taste).
From Gastronomer Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Dean Felten.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.