Did you ever get into something late in the game like a television show in its last season?
I’m a big Monk fan, but way behind the trends, I only became a fan during the second to the last season. Then over the next year or so, I caught up and watched all the episodes. While I enjoyed the obsessive compulsive Mr. Monk, I didn’t have to live with him, and could just enjoy the brilliance in the way he saw what others didn’t see, noticed the little nuances, and always solved the murder. He never missed anything, and at the end of the show left viewers satisfied.
Caught behind the trends is exactly how I feel about this roasted salad. I am known in my circles as the salad queen, so how did I not know people were roasting salads. Sure, I knew they were roasting radicchio and sometimes romaine lettuce, but a spring mix?
I did not know. And, just like binge watching my favorite shows, I am now obsessed with this salad, making different versions of it over and over. I’m also paying attention to the nuances.
There are up 14 different greens in a bag of spring mix, which is usually made up of baby lettuces and baby greens. When roasted together, it works like a salad orchestra that has practiced well.
I was hoping for better pictures, but I’ve been battling a bout of pneumonia and not much energy to cook. This is one of the few things I’ve prepared so far this year. When I first saw the idea in Food and Wine Magazine, it was the picture that captured me. The cheese had melted just right over the lettuce and I became intrigued.
Use as much or as little of the cheese when you make this, but do use a good Pecorino Romano. It the right mix of saltiness for the greens.
I used to think spring mix was boring, but roast it up and you can actually taste and appreciate each of the different lettuces in the mix.By the way did you ever wonder what all the lettuces are? For the first time, I took a look at the bag.
In a typical bag, you might find:
Baby Lettuces: Lollo Rosa, Tango, Red and Green Oak, Red and Green Romaine, Red Leaf Parella,
Baby Greens: Tatsoi, Mizuna, Red and Green Chard, Frisee, Baby Spinach, Radicchio.
This is an amazing mix of greens, something before this post I never paid much attention to.
It’s obvious that spring mix is nutrient packed, because each type offers its own special benefit. The only advice I might offer is to buy organic when you can if you are buying spring mix, but most importantly, buy it fresh. Look for moisture in the bag, which you don’t want. Examine the mix thoroughly, buy it only a day in advance if not the day you’re making it.
I first saw this salad in Food and Wine Magazine and I adapted it to my liking, but it was all their idea. I’ve made it for two separate sets of friends and they all loved it. It was on our Christmas Eve table with pomegranates. It was a brunch with poached eggs another day.
A few ways I’ve enjoyed this salad:
Topping with a perfectly poached egg or two.
Topping with pink grapefruit. Roast the grapefruit with the lettuce, brushing balsamic vinegar on it first. This idea worked out amazingly with the juiciness of the grapefruit with the crunchiness of the nuts.
Topping with cooked bacon, or better yet some crispy pancetta. Add the grapefruit to this idea and it’s double good.
Varying the nuts: Toasted almonds or pinenuts.
Adding dried fruit, especially dried cherries if you have access to them.
So tell me, have you ever roasted a salad before?
- 1 bag of fresh spring mix (about 6 cups)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 -2 ounces pecorino romano cheese
- 10 hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
- drizzle of good balsamic vinegar
- Sea Salt
- Black pepper
- pomegranate arils (optional)
- Mix olive oil into the greens with your hands. You will find you need very little when you do this. Toss with vinegar, salt pepper.
- Arrange on shallow baking dish. Place thin slices of pecorino cheese and chopped hazelnuts as much or as little as you like.
- Roast for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees.