It took me a long time to genuinely like salad. This is in large part due to the fact that growing up, “salad” in our house consisted of iceberg lettuce (yuck) topped with sliced carrots (double yuck). That’s it. No wonder I never wanted anything to do with it. Thanks to the brilliance that is Caesar salad, I eventually came around to the concept in general, but even still my taste for salad is typically more traditional. Usually green lettuce topped with various other vegetables, maybe croutons and even cheese if I get really crazy. The idea of fruit on a green salad is one that did not sound appetizing at first, but after having a strawberry-balsamic type salad at a friend’s house several times, I realized that it can actually be a pretty tasty combination.
Last summer I saw this salad on the menu at Panera, but never got around to trying it. When I was planning the menu for our recent 24, 24, 24 party, I was trying to think of a salad that was a little more exciting than the usual tossed green salad, and this immediately came to mind. The poppy seed vinaigrette was quick to mix up with ingredients I already had on hand, and I really enjoyed the flavor. It’s slightly creamy but has a nice citrusy bite from the orange juice and apple cider vinegar. And it turns out that fruit topping a green salad can actually be pretty delicious. Such a mix of gorgeous colorful fruit is pretty hard to resist. (By the way, thanks to my friend Shanon for the beautiful plating job!)