September already. Wow, where did summer go? We’re lucky the farmers markets in the Oakland area stay open all year around. Even so, they can get a little sparse in winter – all the more reason to get to the market now, while it’s crammed full of a delectable fruit and vegetable harvest.
Although there are many choices this time of year, among my favorites are the lovely and delicious organic lettuces that seem to be everywhere. Last Saturday I found tender Little Gems and crisp romaine heads, plus a beautiful baby lettuce mix and some buttery buttercrunch at my neighborhood Grand Lake market. I came home with a lot of lettuce, plus there’s more growing in my backyard. Lettuce doesn’t keep for more than a few days, so I’ll be making and eating a whole bunch of salads – what could be tastier or healthier? And affordable too!
Fruits and nuts are great in salads, and I like to set off the sweetness with blue cheese or goat cheese. Here’s a favorite combination, plus an easy recipe for the vinaigrette I keep on hand all the time.
In a small glass jar with a lid, or in a small cruet with a stopper, put 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Put the lid on and shake to combine.
Add 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Shake well again. That’s it!
This dressing should be refrigerated, and taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes to come to room temperature before using.
Fall Salad with Fruits and Nuts:
- A mixture of salad greens, including some crisp and a few bitter (like arugula)
- A handful of slivered almonds, toasted for 6 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or in a small skillet on the stove.
- One naval orange, peeled and cut in pieces.
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (Maytag blue is very good, so is Danish blue).
- 1/2 small onion, sliced thinly
Wash and spin dry the greens, then tear them into medium pieces into a large salad bowl.
Add half the toasted almonds and all of the orange pieces and the onion slices.
Add one tablespoon of the vinaigrette (or a tiny bit more depending on how much lettuce you are using). Toss the salad very well to distribute the dressing.
Sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles on top and top all with the remaining toasted almonds. Serve with nearly anything, or just by itself for a delicious meal.