Weekend Gourmet's Signature Green Salad

Signature SaladNot all green salads are created equal.  Personally, I don’t like just plain greens. Rather, I like my green salads with a little something extra you can sink your teeth into.  So for this salad, I add cooked Broccoli, Balsamic Marinated Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado.  Extra texture and extra taste.  Extra healthy and extra delicious! Here’s the recipe:

1 8 oz Package of Mixed Organic Salad
(I like to use the “Herb” Salad variety, which has both mixed greens and fresh herbs, such as dill and basil)
1 Batch Balsamic Marinated Cherry Tomatoes 
2 Ripe Avocados
1 Bunch Whole Scallions
(Green Onions),
to yield 2/3 cup diced
1 Pound (16 oz.) Fresh Broccoli 

BroccoilFirst, get your cherry tomatoes marinated. See my recipe for Balsamic Marinated Cherry Tomatoes .

Next, set a small pot of water to boil for the broccoli. Toss in a paunch of salt for flavor. When water begins to boil, add the broccoil.

Blanch (leaving broccoli  in big chunks of several spears, like the broccoli you see in the picture to the right) in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.  Broccoli should be tender, still bright green and not overcooked or mushy — al dente — which means ”to the teeth” in Italian, or in other words, not quite all the way cooked. If you were blanching and then removing the broccoli to saute it with other ingredients on the stove, you might leave the broccoli in the water for only about 2-3 minutes. But this broccoli will not be further cooked and it is not already chopped, so I leave it in just a tad bit longer. 

Remove the broccoli from the pot with a skimmer and plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking.  This will also preserve the bright green color. Chop broccoli, including the stems, into bite sized pieces and set aside. In a pinch, you can use thawed, frozen chopped broccoli pieces, but this salad is much better with fresh broccoli.

While broccoli is cooking, place salad green into large salad bowl.  Next grab your bunch of scallions (green onions).

Green Onions Green Onions2 Green Onions3
First, chop off any wilted ends and discard. Then go to the other end and chop off the white ends, about 6 inches long. Immerse rooted white ends in a glass of water and save these for another recipe. You will be left with the center section of the green onions, which should be 4-6 inches long. Chop these. Hopefully, you will end up with about 2/3 cup of chopped scallions. I use the center of the scallion because it is milder in flavor than the white ends.

Gently fold the chopped scallions into your bowl of  Balsamic Marinated Cherry Tomatoes.  As this sits, the onions will add additional flavor to the tomatoes and viniagrette.  Cover and refrigerate if you are not serving the salad immediately.

Next, cut up the avocados, into bite sized pieces.

How to Easily Slice or Dice an Avocado:
The easiest way to cut up a ripe avocado  is as follows:

(1) First cut the avocado in half lengthwise from the top stem, going all the way around the fruit.

(2) Pop out the seed by holding the avocado in the palm of your hand, avocado skin side to palm, and gently squeezing the half of the avocado with the seed.

(3) Take out a small paring knife and still holding the avocado in your palm, CAREFULLY and GENTLY slice the avocado, still in the skin, length wise, from top where the stem was to the bottom, WITHOUT PUNCTURING THE SKIN. If you desire sliced avocados, omit the next step and go to step (5). If you want chunks, continue on.

(4) Using the paring knife, make cuts perpendicular to the slices you made in the previous step, in a grid pattern, so the pieces are in the size you desire.

Broccoli Salad(5) Once you have made the cuts in  the avocado, take a spoon and carefully insert between the flesh and the skin, separating the avocado flesh away from the skin and into a bowl, taking care not to mush the avocado.

Repeat for second avocado. Add the diced avocado pieces straight into the salad bowl full of greens. Do not toss.

Add the broccoli to the bowl with greens and avocado. No need to toss.

Cover and refrigerate bowl of greens, avocado, and broccoli, if not ready to serve immediately.

When ready to serve your salad, add entire contents of the bowl of  Balsamic Marinated Cherry Tomatoes (including the extra viniagrette – this is your dressing) to the salad bowl of greens.

Gently toss and serve immediately.

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