Old Goat and I decided to go to lunch at one of our little local restaurants in town. It was a lovely day for a date. The weather was perfect for strolling past the lake and sitting down outside to enjoy a leisurely lunch. I ordered the salad special-of-the-day and boy did I love it! So much so that I just had to try and recreate it at home a couple of days later for the fam-bam to try. They loved it, too.
The salad wasn’t anything really fancy. In fact, it was incredibly simple with nothing but spring greens and pomegranate arils lightly dressed in a sherry vinaigrette. But it had these warm dates that were stuffed with melty, creamy blue cheese. You cut a little piece of stuffed date and ate it with a bite of salad and suddenly you were transported to culinary heaven! The warm dates contrasting with the cold salad, the burst of sweet, sour, and salty flavors, it was unexpected and delicious!
There are several different ways to get the juicy, red arils out of a pomegranate, ranging from picking them out with your fingers to whacking them out with the back of a wooden spoon. There’s a good post on how to cut and seed a pomegranate here. But I’m lucky. My local grocery store sells little plastic containers of ready-to-eat pomegranate arils which sure makes life easy and stain-free!
SALAD OF SPRING GREENS WITH WARM BLUE CHEESE STUFFED DATES
(Makes 4 Servings)
- 6 cups spring greens
- arils from 1 or 2 pomegranates
- 16-20 pitted dates
- 4 ozs. blue cheese
- 4 ozs. cream cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Cut a slit on the side of each date from end to end.
- Fill the cavity of each date with blue cheese. If like mine, your kids don’t like the flavor of blue cheese, you can make it less pungent by blending it with cream cheese. I find that a 50/50 blend of blue cheese and cream cheese goes over well with the picky eaters in your life.
- Place the stuffed dates on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese just begins to brown.
- While dates are baking, make the dressing.
(Makes about 1 cup dressing)
- ⅓ cup sherry wine vinegar
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp. sugar or splenda
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ small shallot, finely minced (optional)
- Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk again before using.
NOTE: Vinaigrette can be made ahead of time. Place in an airtight container, cover, and keep chilled in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
TO ASSEMBLE SALAD
- Toss spring greens with as much salad dressing as you want. Do not over dress!
- Place about 1½ cups of salad onto each of 4 salad plates.
- Sprinkle about 2 or 3 tablespoons of pomegranate arils over salad.
- Arrange 4 or 5 warm stuffed dates on top.
- Serve immediately.