Sometimes salads just compose themselves.
No need to struggle over what flavors go together or which textures accentuate your lettuces the best- seasonality often takes care of those questions for you. Paying attention to the selections of your farmer’s markets will usually reveal flavor pairings right alongside each other.
Learning to recognize these opportunities takes some practice. I’ve been using the Zuni Cafe Cookbook to remind myself how well composed Oregon’s seasons are. This salad is one such wake up call.
The warm juicy cherries, soft salty cheese and crunchy toasted nuts are a perfect addition to your fresh salad greens.
Oregon Summer Salad of Warmed Cherries with Oregonzola & Hazelnuts
adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook’s Mixed Greens with Roasted Cherries, Hazelnuts, & Warm Saint-Marcellin. Here I pit the cherries, which are warmed on the stove as opposed to roasting whole in the oven. I also choose the prized Oregonzola from Rogue Creamery to round out our dish.
makes 4 servings
1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts
4 ounces of Oregonzola
8 cups of young salad greens
salt and pepper
In a 325F oven, roast a 1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts till the skins are cracked and the nuts are slightly tan and fragrant. Rub the toasted nuts in a clean dish towel to loosen most of the skin off the nuts. Transfer the hazelnuts to a bowl, clean off the skins from the dish towel, and return the nuts to the cloth. Fold the cloth over the nuts and crack each nut with the heal of your hand. Set aside.
Bring 4 ounces of Oregonzola to room temperature. For speed- place the cheese on parchment paper and slip into the oven still warm from the hazelnuts. Warming the cheese to an almost melted state will be fine.
Wearing an apron, de-stem 16 cherries. With the blade of a kitchen knife, press down on each cherry splitting the fruit and popping out the pit. Tear each cherry into halves and scoop into a bowl along with the juices.
Warm a skillet over medium high heat and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Add the cherry halves to the skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Heat through ~3 minutes getting the cherries nice and hot. Add a small splash of your favorite vinegar to the hot pan of cherries and quickly transfer to a bowl.
Lightly dress 8 cups of young salad greens with a simple vinaigrette (for example: 1 Tbs vinegar whisked with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt & pepper). Arrange on individual dishes, or a large platter. Slide the Oregonzola off of the parchment paper next to the lettuce greens. Spoon over the salad the warmed cherries and sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts.