Who is ready for spring? I think it’s safe to say, we have had our fair share of snow and cold weather this year in the bluegrass, and enough is enough! Spring is one of the most beautiful times of year in Kentucky. With horse racing season and the trees and flowers all in bloom. I can hardly wait to get my hands dirty in the garden and plant some kale and fresh salad greens. Spring just makes me think of lighter fare like salads (to be brutally honest, it also makes me think about pool season on the horizon and how many lbs I need to drop before I slide on the ole bikini.)
When building a salad you need to think taste and texture. Our tongue and palette is divided into compartments with taste buds specifically targeted to salty, sour, sweet, and spicy. When I build a salad, I always keep these four flavor components in mind and try to have something to represent each. Texture is also extremely important. Crunchy, creamy, crisp, smooth, etc. all combined will add to the enjoyment of a well composed salad.
This spring salad will be sure to please all of your taste buds this season with a delightful combination of fennel, orange segments, goat cheese, and almonds.
Mixed Green Salad with Fennel and Orange Hazelnut Vinaigrette
- 1 fennel bulb, core removed and sliced thin
- 2 oranges, 1 peeled and cut into segments, and 1 reserved for juice
- 1/2 cup of organic raspberries
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cups organic mixed greens
- 4 ounces of goat cheese
- Toasted almond slices
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 cup hazelnut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Slice the salad ingredients and add to a large bowl.
Chef Tip: I find it best to fix each individual salad in small bowls or on salad plates to ensure that each serving has an adequate amount of each ingredient. If you mix it all together in a large bowl you end up digging for all the good stuff at the bottom.
Combine the remaining vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, into a medium glass or non reactive bowl.
While whisking, slowly add in the oil in a thin steady stream until the oil is evenly incorporated/emulsified.
Season with salt and pepper, toss with the salad ingredients, and serve!