I love salads. They can be a healthy first course or a hearty main meal. I crave a plate of crisp seasonal vegetables layered with satisfying protein and crunchy nuts. And on a hot day nothing beats the cool snap of fresh veggies, especially when they're dripping in a sharp red wine vinaigrette dressing.
A salad like this deserves the velvety buttery Boston lettuce. I like the way it forms little cups around the sides of the bowls to support this original collection of ingredients. When you tear a shred of lettuce, gather a chip of salmon, a bit of feta, a cherry half, and a piece of sweet zucchini into your mouth, the wine vinaigrette swims across your tongue. The fish dissolves, the vegetables are crisp, and the whole hazelnuts pop between your teeth.
The surprise ingredient is
Because the taste of Pinot Noir really highlights dark red fruits and the wine is fabulous with salmon I figured the plump juicy cherries would be a perfect pairing with a flaky chunk of moist salmon.
For a less dry easy sipping wine choice, give Menage a Trois red blend a try! A rich trio of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this beautiful blend has a delicious ruby fruit flavor from the Merlot, a little spice in the Zin, and even though it has structure and tannins from the Cab it has a gentle sweetness from the jammy red fruit.
Fresh cherries are in season and while they're delicious right out of the pack, save some to make this salad. It has all the components of a substantial lunch or dinner!
For more creative salads and wine pairings check out my book, Salads For 1 - Fresh Produce, Fragrant Herbs, Served on Fancy Dishes, With A full Wine Glass on Amazon
Ingredients For Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon sweet red wine
1 tablespoon dry red wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Jack Daniels Dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
Ingredients For Salad
4 or 5 leaves of Butter lettuce
2 to 3 ounces of cooked salmon (I had leftover fish that had been sautéed in a brown sugar, mustard, and lemon juice glaze but you can use any leftover salmon)
10 Bing cherries, cheeks cut off around seed
1 shallot chopped small
¼ cup zucchini, chopped in small pieces
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons whole hazelnuts
1 tablespoon fresh apple mint, minced
Directions For Vinaigrette
Add first 5 ingredients into a bowl. Whisk to combine. Drizzle in oil while whisking. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Whisk. Chill until salad is ready.
Directions For Salad
Layer bed of lettuce on bottom of a bowl. Place salmon in the middle. Place cherries around the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle shallots and zucchini around the edges. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad. Then add remaining 3 ingredients.
Red Rock Pinot Noir
Ménage a Trois Red Blend