Delicious And Colorful Winter Salads

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Winter salads need not be dull or ordinary.

Why not have some fun with Christmas colors by combining the red and green of grape tomatoes and romaine lettuce? This classic and eye-pleasing salad Baby Red And Green Romaine, Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower, Red Onion And Grape Tomato Salad allows the clean unadulterated flavors of the vegetables to whet your appetite before eating a main course of goose or roast beef with all the trimmings for a holiday dinner.

And who says that salad must be a starter? This Frisee, Apple, Cranberry And Pistachio Salad is the perfect salad to serve after a main course. Follow it up with an assortment of goat, triple-cream Brie and aged Gouda cheeses and pour a glass of vintage port instead of dessert.

Or, try the Romaine, Pear, Dried Cherries, Gruyère And Cashew Salad for a holiday buffet dinner. It’s colorful, pretty and decadent, and it’s also easy to put together and serve. Bon salad appétit!

Baby Red And Green Romaine, Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower, Red Onion, And Grape Tomato Salad(Serves 4 to 6)1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed and washed

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Smoked paprika, for sprinkling

4 cups baby red and green romaine lettuce, washed and spun dry

1 cup baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry

1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

12 to 16 grape tomatoes, washed and halved

8 to 12 oil-cured pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegarTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper, then drizzle oil on the paper.

Separate the cauliflower into large clusters.

With a sharp knife, make a vertical cut from the top through the florets into 1/4-inch slices.

Place slices on the baking sheet and roll in the oil.

Season to taste with salt, pepper and paprika.

Bake until tender to the point of a knife and lightly browned on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes, turning the cauliflower over once after 8 minutes.

Just before serving, arrange lettuce and spinach on a large platter or individual salad plates.

Scatter onion on the lettuce, place cauliflower slices down the center of the greens, tuck cherry tomatoes and black olives decoratively on and around the cauliflower.

Whisk balsamic vinegar together with oil, tasting and adjusting the proportions, and drizzle just enough over the salad to lightly coat the lettuce.

Serve at once.Frisee, Apple, Cranberry And Pistachio Salad(Serves 6)2 heads Frisee, washed and spun dry

1 bunch scallions, finely chopped

2 large pink lady or gala apples, halved, cored and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup shelled, salted and roasted pistachios

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup good quality pistachio oil

To prepare:Tear Frisee into bite-sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Add scallions and mix well.

Roll apple slices in lemon juice immediately after cutting to prevent discoloration.

Remove apples from the lemon juice, reserving the juice for dressing, and add apples to the salad.

Add cranberries to the salad and toss to blend.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk mustard into the reserved lemon juice, adding another tablespoon of juice.

Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in maple syrup.

Slowly whisk oils into the dressing until an emulsion is formed.

Taste and adjust the sweetness.

Just before serving, drizzle just enough dressing over the salad and toss well.

Sprinkle pistachios on top and serve at once.Romaine, Pear, Dried Cherries, Gruyère And Cashew Salad(Serves 6)For the salad:

3 ripe, firm red Bartlett pears, washed, halved and cored

Juice of 1 lemon, for rolling

3 navel oranges, peeled and cut into sections

1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1/2 to 1 cup dried Montmorency cherries

1 cup roasted, salted cashews

For the dressing:

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted poppy seeds (toast seeds in a dry skillet until aromatic)To prepare:Make the dressing first, using a blender.

Add sugar, lemon juice and shallot and blend until coarsely chopped.

Add mustard and small amount of salt and pepper and blend.

With the machine running, slowly add the oil through the feeding tube and blend until smooth.

Add toasted poppy seeds and blend a few seconds until well mixed.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until about an hour before making the salad.

For the salad, cut pears into thin lengthwise slices, with the skin on.

Immediately roll the pears in lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Transfer pears and orange sections to a small bowl and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of dressing over the fruit.

Just before serving, cut romaine into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.

Toss Gruyère with the lettuce.

Add pears, oranges and cherries and just enough salad dressing to lightly coat the greens.

Scatter cashews on top, then toss and serve at once.

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