By Lori Powell
We are experiencing yet another heat wave and I’m not sure about you, but I am in no mood to cook today. That’s completely odd for me to say, but true! Usually I have to be stricken ill not to want to cook.
Along with people, not a lot of crops are happy in this heat. I’m not quite sure what happened to the cherry crop but they are amazing in the Northeast this year – super-dark and sweet. Also, they keep you cool if you eat them chilled.
Another benefit of cherries is that they are packed with nutrients that are not only good for your heart; they aid in cancer prevention, promote bone health and are good for pain relief for arthritis and gout (anti-inflammatory).
This week, I’m not going to give you a recipe that requires getting in front of a hot burner or grill, but instead, to beat the heat, try my salad for one with mache lettuce, goat cheese and fresh cherries.
The mache lettuce in the recipe (if you haven’t tried mache, you need to) is considered the up-and-coming salad green. It is also known as lamb’s lettuce and has been enjoyed in France since the 17th century. Mache is trying to make a hit here in the U.S. and I hope it succeeds because I can’t get enough of the little leaves. If you can’t find mache, Boston lettuce will make a good substitute or try another sweet lettuce.
Mache has tiny clusters of green leaves that taste sweet and slightly nutty. The texture is soft and delicate, and pairs well with the cherry dressing below. Store mache in the clam shell you purchase it in with a piece of paper towel right under the cover to catch the extra moisture your produce draws from the fridge. Stored and chilled properly, mache will keep for up to 2 weeks.
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Salad of Mache, Goat Cheese and Cherries
1 tablespoon cherry balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups mache lettuce
8 ripe Bing cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ounce crumbled soft fresh herbed goat cheese
- Whisk together vinegar and mustard in a small bowl until smooth. Whisking slowly, add oil in a stream until emulsified (thickened) and vinaigrette is a creamy mixture.
- Gently toss together lettuce, cherries, with just enough dressing to coat in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a salad plate and top with goat cheese. Serve immediately. Serve any remaining dressing on the side or reserve, covered and chilled.
Note: Boston lettuce or another sweet lettuce can be substituted for the mache.
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