Thursday, September 9, 2010

An Early Autumn Salad from Me and Fresh Express

I've been approached by a number of companies to use and blog about their products.  Up until now, I've politely refused their kind offers.  I was contacted by Fresh Express a few weeks ago about trying out their new artisanal salad blends.  We've used Fresh Express salad blends for years so I had no problem saying that I'd give them a try.


I went to their website:  Fresh Express to check out the new blends and was impressed with what I saw and read.  Fresh Express has been working on the artisanal blends for a number of years and recently felt they were ready to share with salad lovers across the country.  There are two artisanal blends:  Sierra Crisp Herb and Wild Rocket Zest.  Both of which arrived at my front door this morning.  I was very pleased to see that the packaging uses 50% less plastic than their previous packaging.  I'm into green--whether in my diet or in being a good steward of the earth.  So far, kudos for the packaging!



Then came the true test.  These lovely greens had traveled from the Salinas Valley to the midwest.  I tore into the box immediately thinking I'd better get them into the friendly environment of my refrigerator crisper.  I examined each bag and found that they looked fresh and delicious.  I felt compelled to compose a salad straightaway.

(Click on the photo for an even better look at deliciousness.)

Sierra Crisp Herb Blend and Harvest Fruit Salad

Candied Walnuts:

1/2 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup sugar

Place walnuts and sugar into a saute pan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the sugar melts and turns golden.  This only takes a few minutes after the sugar melts.  Spread on a plate to cool.

Poached Pear and Apple slices:

1 pear (I used Bosc)
1 apple (I used Honeycrisp)
1 cup of pear nectar (or water)

Bring nectar or water to a simmer
Core and slice fruit but leave peel on
Add fruit to liquid and simmer for one minute.  Cool in liquid.  Drain and refrigerate if not using immediately.

OR ELIMINATE THIS STEP ENTIRELY AND USE THE FRUIT FRESH.  

Dressing:

1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup white balsamic or pear vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together.

Place the Sierra Crisp Herb mix on a plate, top with the fruit and candied walnuts and drizzle with the dressing.

ENJOY!

I wish that I could have better captured the beauty of these greens.  Alas, I had eaten most of the salad before I realized I should have taken a few more shots.  But, I'm not a food stylist--just a connoisseur.  

The Sierra Crisp Herb mix is delicious.  I munched away, right out of the bag, as I was preparing the salad.  I don't think it could have tasted any fresher or been any crisper if I'd picked it up at the farm in Salinas.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was not compensated for posting about Fresh Express.  I did receive the blends to try.  There's a generous coupon for the artisan blends on Fresh Express.  I hope you'll try them and share some recipes.  We enjoy salads year round and always welcome new ways to bring them to the table.