I'm a lover of bitter greens, which is probably why I originally fell for this salad. It wasn't the grilled plums or the aged Gouda, but the escarole and the peppery watercress. Perhaps they are just a welcome reprieve for bland lettuces, but it's a passion that I would indulge in often if the wife happened to share even a little of my enthusiasm. She does care for grilled fruit in her salads, though, and perhaps unwittingly, she picked this recipe out herself from the Food Network Kitchens Cookbook.
When all the components line up on the fork, it's a delicious bite. The bitter greens are balanced by the tangy dressing, sweet plums, creamy cheese, and hard nuts. Unfortunately, the fruit and escarole were a little too unwieldy at times, so beware of unbalanced bites too.
Next time I'll just cut everything up a little smaller. Surprisingly, I've actually already remade the dressing, which I used it as a simple vinaigrette for some green beans the next day. It's incredibly tasty and an unexpected find in this very good salad.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- For the salad:
- 4 ripe plums, pitted and quartered
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups escarole leaves, torn
- 1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
- 4 ounces aged Gouda, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pecans, halved and toasted
To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, honey, salt, pinch of black pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the the olive oil. Set aside.
Place a grill pan over medium-high. Season the quartered plum with a little salt and brush with the teaspoon of oil. Place the plums on the grill pan cut side down and cook for about 1 minute. Flip to the other cut side and cook for another minute. The plums should be soft. They should develop nice grill marks if at all possible. Cut these pieces in half.
Toss the plums, escarole, watercress, Gouda, and pecans into a large bowl. Pour in the dressing, and toss until combined. Season with salt and pepper if needed.