Friday, October 8, 2010

Orange Spinach Salad with Blue Cheese and Apples as a Palate Cleanser

First, a bit of self-congratulatory business...

Remember this post from a couple days ago???

Tomato Vegetable Bisque - A Beautiful Thick Hearty SoupTomato Vegetable Bisque - A Beautiful Thick Hearty Soup.
Well, Foodbuzz selected little ol' me as one of "Today's Top 9: October 08, 2010 - The best of 4,012 posts from the Foodbuzz Community, as chosen by our editors and users"

If it's printed in the Internet, it must be true!

Check out the rest of the top 9 by clicking HERE... 

OK, back to the real virtual world... Today is a twofer.  Because the next two courses in my 7 course dinner are so simple.

First, I needed a palate cleanser.   Something crisp, light, citrus tasting to give your mouth a break between the fish course and the rest of the meal.  I chose to use apples as my cleanser.  More traditionally, a Sorbet has been used.  But I was planning an outdoor meal (got just a bit to cold, so that was scrapped at the last minute).  So, something non-ice cream cold was needed.

Alternating slices of Red Delicious Apples and Granny Smith Apples, along with a dip made from just a bit of Coconut Rum and Vanilla Yogurt.

Tastes Great -

Less Filling -

And worked just fine!

Next up is my now famous (well, should be anyway) Spinach Salad with Orange Slices, Walnuts, Blue Cheese and a fresh made Mustard Vinaigrette!

I did add a little twist.  I "Mise en Place" all the ingredients (had them all prepped and proportioned, ready to assemble) so it would be a matter of minutes to prepare and plate table side.  Rather than just me making dish after dish, I chose the most inexperienced cook among the guests and had him do all the work.

It was a fun twist.  Gave me an opportunity to show the difference between stirring and whisking, gave a recipe out that was written by two of the guests while it was being made (people love recipes from dinners).  And of course we all had a little fun with a great tasting dish made by someone not known for serving great tasting dishes.

It is very easy to do...

Here's what I did...


Topped with...
Blue Cheese crumbles
Walnut Pieces
Garlic (minced)

And the simple Vinaigrette
3 to 1 ratio of
3 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 part Red Wine Vinegar

1 part Spicy Brown Deli style Mustard
1 clove finely minced Garlic

Sweet Paprika as an accent for color

And that's it, it comes together fast and easy...

Mix the vinaigrette
Layer the Spinach and coat with 2/3rds of the vinaigrette
Slice the orange into thin 1/4 inch slices, remove the rind
Layer the orange slices, top with the walnuts and remaining garlic
add the final 1/3rd of the vinaigrette
finally, add the Blue Cheese and the paprika Served a true southern Sweet Tea (float some orange slices in the pitcher of tea for a spectacular image)! Sorry, no photos of the tea, but it was a welcome break from the wines I served with the rest of the meal.

This is my favorite of all "regular" salads.  Love the blue cheese, love the walnuts, love the image of that fresh orange slice floating on the spinach bed.  And, the vinaigrette taste is fabulous!  Originally inspired by Sam of 
MY CAROLINA KITCHEN.  It has quickly become my very favorite summer salad. So simple, but lots of great tastes. Sam originally had more ingredients (Olives), and did not serve over spinach. A different take, but equally special. Click HERE to see and read what I believe is Sam's original post on the salad.

The Palate Cleanser and Salad courses were the 4th and 5th course in my 7 course dinner...

At last, the end is near... but wait till you read about my Julia Child boeuf bourguignon and a fabulous dessert and an original after dinner drink!

But those are posts for another day... See you tomorrow!



  1. Congrats on the top 9! I love fruit in salads with vinaigrette! This recipe sounds wonderful! One more for my database.

  2. Looks fantastic! I like the way you alternated the types of apples for the palate cleanser. Another winner of a recipe!

  3. First of all CONGRATULATIONS Dave! The soup deserved that honor and so do you! I did make the soup that night and it came out wonderful and I'm having it for lunch today! Thanks again!

    That salad looks amazing! I am on the run for lunch today and taking the soup in my thermos but I would love to take this salad as well! Hummmm I wonder if it travels well? I'll see!
    Thanks for the funny comments you leave on my blog too... A lotta times they really cheer me up!


  4. Dude MEGA congrats on the TOP 9 STATUS! That is AWESOME. I get more and more proud of you every day. This salad sounds amazing. You are a master at pairing flavors together.

  5. That recipe sounds great. We went to the downtown Cosentino's and saw Pt. Reyes blue cheese 2 dollars less a pound than Cal. were it is made Go figure?

    We did not wait for you for cocktails at Lidia's. We had dinner and Ms. Goofy cried. It was a disappointment. Lidia is Ms. Goofy's heroes and she owns all the books. We sent back one dish and should of sent back others. Oh Well.

  6. Woot! BIG congrats on the Top 9!! Well deserved, Dave. :)

    ~ Cleo

  7. Great article, but you mentioned using apples as a palate cleanser. Crackers, bread, apples, etc. are not palate cleansers. None of them actually cleans the palate, but either add flavors, salts, minerals, or merely hydrate you. There is a REAL palate cleansing product out in the market called SanTasti and you should try it out for your next grilling adventure.