Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Best Salad Ever

I know what you're thinking... how can a salad actually be that great? A few weeks ago, my parents and I dined at the Lever House restaurant. In keeping with my new theory that the appetizers are always better than the entrees at fancy restaurants, I ordered a pair of appetizers (this strategy also ensures plenty of room for drinks or dessert). First, the satur farm green salad with roasted butternut squash, ricotta salata and pomegranate vinaigrette and second, the white bean, savoy cabbage, and chorizo soup with poached egg, extra virgin olive oil and fleur de sel.

The salad was actually the best salad I've ever had and quite possibly one of my favorite meals ever. The butternut squash was roasted to perfection, the pomegranate dressing and ricotta salata (similar to feta in texture) were distributed perfectly, and the hidden gem of the salad: toasted hazelnuts. Amazing.

Last night my friend Lila and I attempted to recreate this masterpiece, however, some of the ingredients proved to be a challenge. Hazelnuts? Impossible to find. Suitable substitute: cashews. Ricotta salata? Not even really sure what that is. Suitable substitute: Fresh crumbled feta. Pomegranate vinaigrette? Not a chance. Suitable substitute: Raspberry balsamic dressing. While we couldn't match the ingredients, the end result was just as delicious. The squash gives the salad depth, while the sweet fruitiness of the dressing is balanced perfectly by the richness of the nuts and feta. Yum yum yum. And it only took about 2 minutes to assemble once the squash was roasted. Try it for your next dinner party.


At 3:29 PM, April 07, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has most definitely been my experience in the past few months that the appetizers at any given restaurant (doesn't really even have to be a fancy one) are way better than the entrees. I just feel like the entrees are so often either a big piece of meat with a big mound of starch alongside it or just one gigantic serving of starch (i.e. pasta.) I'd much rather have a sampling of appetizers, which often have much more varied and concentrated flavors. The salad sounds delicious, and even though ricotta salata is hard to find, I'd go out of my way to get some... have you tried Trader Joe's?

At 6:41 PM, April 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ricotta salata is also know as "easter cheese". My mother had it at easter and said she got it at pathmark. Go figure

At 11:18 PM, April 15, 2007, Blogger Anne said...

OMG. Fresh Direct has hazelnuts AND ricotta salata. Who knew?



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