I know it looks like I spent a long time on this salad, but in actual fact I literally just cut up things that were in the fridge and calling to be used. My husband was smoking flank steak for dinner and I said I would make a salad to have with it...
The orange had been zested for something else and needed to be eaten; the avocado half was left over from breakfast the day before; the toast was made from the stale loaf end on the counter; the cheese, beans and lettuce had just been bought and rounded out the salad.
The basil vinaigrette was made in order to use up some of the basil in the garden...I can only make and freeze so much Basil Pesto, and this dressing is quick and easy and tastes so good. It has a perfect balance of acidity, basil, heat from the mustard and sweetness.
Blanch and cool off with cold, running water:
1 Handful of green beans per person
Cut thin slices from a loaf of French bread, preferably stale.
Place on a tray under the broiler to toast. I turned them over when the first side was done, to have even crispiness!
Peel and thinly slice:
2 oranges ( or 1 per person)
To make the vinaigrette, place all the ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth:
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
To assemble the salad, toss some torn salad greens in a bit of the basil vinaigrette and place onto the plates. Toss the cooled grean beans in a bit of the dressing and add to the plate. Finish off the plate by adding the sliced orange, some sliced avocado, 2 pieces of the toast and a slice of Cambozola cheese.
Play around and be creative...the colours and textures allow you to do so, and it looks more impressive than if it was all tossed with the dressing and piled onto the plate!
Add the thinly sliced smoked flank steak, or whichever meat you choose to add, and dinner is served!
- This salad came together quickly; by the time the beans were blanched and the toast was done, everything else was ready to go.
- I used green leaf lettuce, but as with any green salad you can use whatever lettuce you have available. Baby kale or arugula will add tangy or slightly bitter flavours; spinach, romaine or mixed greens can also be used. Radicchio or butter lettuce could be used to create lettuce cups to hold some of the other ingredients if you like.
- Green beans do not have to be blanched, we just prefer them this way. You could also use asparagus (grilled or blanched), snap peas or snow peas.
- Use fresh berries, peaches or nectarines, grapes or grapefruit if you don't have any oranges.
- Add other vegetables for colour and texture....grape tomatoes, sweet red peppers, boiled new potatoes tossed in the vinaigrette while still warm, cucumber slices.
- The toast was added to give some crunch, and because I thought it would be nice to eat with the cheese....use croutons or toasted nuts instead.
- Cheese is your choice, add your favourite, or omit it if you like. The creamy Cambozola was perfect for spreading on the toast, and a great complement to the sweet oranges and slightly spicy steak.
- As I mentioned, use any meat you like, just slice it thinly.
- The basil vinaigrette is so summery, I love to use it as much as I can. I have some chicken marinating in it for dinner tonight.