My inspiration for this salad was to utilize the fresh fruits of summer and to create something unusual that would definitely excite your palate.
This summer salad has the sweetness of the fruit, the acidity of the tomatoes, the crunchy texture of the pecans and the crisp and creaminess of the salad.
When I first created this salad, I thought that my staff would not like it at all, but to my surprise it was received very well and with strong compliments. So I thought that if my staff really liked it, hopefully our guests will feel the same way. This ended up being the most popular salad of last summer on the menu. I then tried to make it for fall with apples or pears and it just didn't taste the same. The dynamics of this salad was all in the luscious, glorious summer fruit that we only get three months of the year.
This salad will be back on my menu at Tulalip Bay Restaurant this summer, and hopefully it will do just as well as last year. I hope that you will try to produce this salad and hope that you too will get the wonderful responses from your guests that I did with mine.
Happy summer, everyone!
Fresh Nectarines and Bibb Lettuce Salad
Serves 6-10 ppl.
4 ea. Fresh Nectarines
2 heads Bibb Lettuce (pre-rinsed and pat dry)
1 cup Roasted Pepper Buttermilk Dressing (recipe below)
Red and Yellow Pear Tomatoes (recipe below)
1lb. Candied Pecans (recipe below)
1 bunch Fresh Chive Sticks ( 2" length )
Cut around the pit of the nectarines (try to get two halves and two quarters).
Using a paring knife, slice the fruit into thin slices, then carefully fan out around the plate for a beautiful presentation.
Place the bibb lettuce leaves in a mixing bowl, and add in the roasted red pepper buttermilk dressing, just enough to lightly coat each leaf. Spoon some of the dressing in the center of the plate, then layer each leaf in the center of the plate and stack. Randomly place the marinated pear tomatoes around and over the salad. Garnish with the candied pecans and chive sticks.
Note: Try to find the "Living" Bibb Lettuce, it comes in a single container with the roots still attached. This has a lighter bite to it, not so heavy like the ones that come out of a large case, and it will last longer in the refrigerator if needed.
Roasted Red Pepper Buttermilk Dressing
2 ea. Red Bell Pepper
1/4 cup Oregon Blue Cheese
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Buttermilk
2 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley
Salt and Pepper
Place the red peppers in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the skin turns black. Place them in a bowl or container and cover with plastic wrap to steam.
Once they are cooled, take out and peel the skin away from the meat and remove the seeds as well. Then place the remainder of the ingredients into a robo coupe or Cuisinart and blend until a smooth and creamy dressing starts to form. Season to taste.
Red and Yellow Pear Tomatoes
1 container Red and Yellow Pear Tomatoes
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tsp. Fresh Italian parsley ( chopped )
Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss lightly.
1 lb. Pecans (halves)
4 oz. Whole Butter
1/4 Tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1/2 cup Sugar
Place the pecans in a sauté pan and toast lightly in a 350 degree oven. Toss pecans every 5-10 minutes for 20 minutes. Next, add in the whole butter and toss to coat pecans. Begin to add in the sugar and keep tossing so the sugar does not clump up.
Finally add in the Chinese Five Spice and a pinch of salt and continue to toss to incorporate.
Place in a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and let cool. Once cooled, place in a sealed bag or Tupperware and reserve until needed.