Thursday, November 15, 2012

Harvest Slaw with Fustini's White Balsamic

The Setting: Chilly weather and Cheerio-covered floors.

The Soundtrack: Nashville.

On the Stovetop: Cranberry Bliss Bars.

The Scenario: My favorite fall lunch.

A while back I wrote about my day trip to Holland, MI, and my purchase of delicious white balsamic vinegar from Fustini's Oils and Vinegars.

I promised I'd share some of my favorite uses for this underrated pantry staple, and it's finally time to deliver.

This crunchy, hearty salad is less of a recipe and more of a serving suggestion, as nothing need be measured or precise.

I call it Harvest Slaw because it's full of autumnal flavors like crisp pears, toasted pecans, and sweet dried cherries.

Usually these compatriots adorn a bed of something more delicate like baby spinach or spring mix. The bright hue of those greens provides a beautiful visual contrast that, let's face it, would have made for much more stunning photographs. But I have recently become an advocate of packaged slaw mix as a salad base.

Despite its wallflower coloration, cabbage (the primary component of slaw mix) is surprisingly full of micronutrients. In addition to being healthy, it tends to be much cheaper and much more shelf stable than the prettier pre-packaged greens--which means I can buy a couple bags of slaw mix just to have on hand, and they're much less likely to turn to slime in the fridge before I reach for them.

Here, their sturdy, crunchy texture and nondescript flavor provide a refreshingly easy-to-eat palette for a big bowl of crisp, creamy, warm, cool, tangy, and sweet.

Simlpy pour some slaw mix into a bowl.

Splash with white balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper.

Add a chopped pear (I usually use the Comice variety).

Top with a crumbling of creamy blue cheese, and finish with some freshly toasted, chopped pecans and dried cherries (I like to add the cherries to the pan when I toast the pecans so they both bring a little warmth to the salad and help bring out the flavor of the cheese).

And if, like Hoosband, you can't call it a meal unless there's meat, feel free to add a little ham.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

No comments: