Ok, here's the deal with this salad.
It is the most unusually delicious thing I have eaten all year. It is a strange, unusual combination of ingredients that you might not think of throwing together in one bowl. But trust me when I tell you that it is basically an entire farmer's market in one dish. All the sweet, creamy, salty, crunchy elements mingle together with a basic vinaigrette to create the experience that is the devouring of this salad.
I went to visit my sister Catherine a week ago and she took me to this cute little cafe that specializes in organic, fresh, healthy meal preparation. I ordered this salad because it sounded so different and was blown away by how much I loved it. The salad had everything: avocados, dates, roasted almonds, chicken, tomatoes, scallions, goat cheese, fresh corn, kale, napa cabbage, and a zippy champagne vinaigrette. A bowl full of awesome.
So, of course, I had to recreate it as soon as I got home.
I paid careful attention while I was eating it and this is my version of this amazing salad. I think I got it pretty darn close. We've enjoyed this for dinner two nights in a row this week because I can't stop eating it. So good.
Like all salads, it's a bit of a pain to make just because there is quite a bit of work involved with washing, drying, chopping, and dicing all the various components. I wait until Paul is home before I start working on it so the kids ambush him and leave me to chop alone in peace. It's great therapy until I hear the loud sucking noises coming from Lucy's swing as she angrily eats her fist ("hint hint MOM").
Bottom line: make this salad while you can still find beautiful corn, tomatoes, and avocados this summer. Guess what we're having again for dinner tonight? I have a feeling that Paul's going to need to compensate for this by grilling steak or brats this weekend. He likes my salads, but can only eat so many bowls of kale before his inner carnivore begins to scream for proper sustenance.
The Beechwold Salad
Inspired by the Northstar Cafe
For the Salad:
1 small head (2 pounds) napa cabbage, thinly shredded
1/2 bunch of kale, cleaned and stems removed, thinly shredded
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (use a rotisserie chicken or your favorite roasting method)
1 large tomato, diced fine
1 large avocado, diced fine
1 bunch of scallions, sliced on the bias (white and light green parts only)
4-5 whole dates, pits removed and diced
2 ears of corn, husked, and the kernels cut from the cob
3/4 cup roasted, salted almonds
4 ounces goat cheese (or feta if goat is not your thing)
For the Champagne Vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
Whisk the dressing together in a large salad bowl. Add the napa and kale and toss to coat completely. Let stand for about five minutes. Add the remaining salad ingredients and toss to coat. Garnish with additional almonds and cheese and serve immediately.