Few weeks back I was asked to make a sophisticated and even a bit whimsical salad for one occasion. Sophisticated salad? I love sophisticated salads! Indeed, I love the world “sophisticated”. You may have noticed that. Moreover, being an ESL speaker, surprisingly I love sophisticated vocabulary…oh, again, sorry:)
Sophisticated salad is about few things: a dressing, the contrast of textures, and the contrast of flavors.
As for the dressing, I didn’t have any doubts – sorbet! What? Sorbet instead of a dressing, you may ask me? That’s right! 5 years ago or so I saw an idea of tomato-basil sorbet for a salad, and I loved it. Since that I’ve been using that idea quite often. In fact, I’ve made savory sorbet only once, and it was kind of pesto sorbet for a pasta salad. But I do make quite often fruit and berry sorbet such as strawberry – basil, cranberry – raspberry or plum – rosemary.
Sorbet – dressing is a perfect option for your summer meal. Just imagine: you are sitting outside. It’s not sweltering but a lovely warm evening. You are having a delicious salad. A scoop of sorbet is gradually melting and becoming a refreshing dressing integrating all the ingredients together. I hope in this imaginary scene you’ve got a glass of wine. Who would be sitting outside on this lovely summer day without a glass of wine, right?
Talking about wine, it’s a good idea to incorporate some alcohol in a dressing as well. Particularly, some sparkling wine sorbet or mojito style sorbet would be perfect in summer. Actually, you don’t even need get sorbet – just chill the puree well. But hopefully, I’ll write about alcohol in salads another time.
Originally, I was thinking about strawberry sorbet, but then I found out in the fridge the very last package of the frozen cherries we picked up on a cherry farm last year. Deal!
The dressing – approved.
With the contrast of textures and flavors, I had some problems, though. For a long time I couldn’t figure out the way this salad would look. Being already in the grocery store, I still didn’t have the solid concept. My concept was to grab some produce and figure out it later. Lame approach but what could I do?
Since I was going to use some lovely local sweet strawberries and the sweet/tart sorbet, I opted for crispy chicken bacon and feta, to introduce some texture and importantly, saltiness. Avocado as the creamy component. As for the greens, I decided to incorporate arugula for its nice peppery and robust flavors.
Basically, that was already quite the good concept, and I should have stopped.
But you know me – often I don’t know how to be simple:)
Thus, I decided to add some savory caramelized walnuts which introduced the additional crunchiness.
Sure, presentation is an essential thing for any sophisticated salad, that’s why I added plenty of our edible flowers We have grown a lot of edible flowers and I just needed to get rid of some of them.
Well, I acknowledge that this salad could have been slightly simpler! If decided now, I would ditch out the bacon since it didn’t have the strong effect.
But, importantly, everything worked! Sweet and juicy strawberries, crunchy spicy walnuts, silky avocado, peppery arugula, slightly smoked bacon, and salty feta topped with cherry peppermint sorbet. That’s divine. Really.
The only one thing – allow the sorbet to melt into the salad.
Or you can always have dessert right after the salad, haha. Convenient, isn’t it?
What about you guys? Are you that courageous to add a sorbet dressing in your salad? Or perhaps, you’ve already done that?
Strawberries, walnuts, feta, and chicken bacon in this sophisticated Strawberry Salad with Cherry Sorbet-Dressing where sorbet melts and turns into refreshing dressing. Perfect summer salad!
- 2 cups pitted cherries, fresh or frozen (better sour cherries)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chocolate mint (see notes)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (optional, see notes)
- 5 cups (100 gr) arugula
- 2 cups strawberries, cut in half/quarter
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup prepared walnuts
- 1/2 feta cheese, crumbled
- 6-8 slices of chicken bacon, cut in small pieces
- edible flowers
- 1,5 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 tablespoon golden sugar
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano or thyme
- pinch of dried hot pepper
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- To make the sorbet, put all the ingredients in a cup of your blender and proceed until smooth and nice. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker's cup and proceed as recommended in your manual (for about 25-30 minutes). Transfer the sorbet in a container and place it in the fridge, for about an hour. You can use the sorbet at once if you prefer the soft texture.
- Cook the bacon until crispy and nice, as recommended on the package.
- To make the nuts, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toss them to coat, for a minute or two. Add the seasonings and herbs. Cook for an additional minute and off heat. Spray a piece of parchment with cooking oil and place the walnuts in an even layer. Let them cool.
- To assemble the salad, in a bowl combine the arugula, strawberries, avocado, bacon, 1 cup of the walnuts, and feta. Arrange the salad on the plates, top with a scoop of the sorbet, and garnish with the flowers.
I love chocolate mint for its strong but delicate flavor. but you can use any other mint (take 1 tablespoons if using regular peppermint). Sour cherries introduce the acidity we need. If you use sweet cherries, it's better to add some lemon juice; however even using sour cherries may require some acidity. That's up to your taste. The mentioned (approximate) time includes the time the sorbet being in the fridge (one hour). havocinthekitchen.com