Since we're firing up the grill every day this Summer, I cannot get enough of woodsy, smoked flavors. When I worked at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, the chef, Annie Somerville, introduced me to the unusual pairing of cherries with smoked blue cheese and almonds. Ripe, sweet cherries offset the bitterness of the greens, and the smoked blue cheese adds a creamy texture and sour punch to the salad. The almonds offer a roasted warmth and contrasting crunch to the otherwise soft ingredients.
My mother introduced me to pomegranate champagne vinegar (I use the O brand at home), and I love it for its distinct, fruity acidity. It's so flavorful, it can almost stand alone. Simply mix it with a little oil and salt, and the dressing is complete! The recipe takes five minutes, so what are you waiting for? Take a look at the cherry salad recipe.
For dressing: For salad: Serves 4 as a side salad.
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate champagne vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 5-ounce bag mixed greens, or a blend of baby spinach and arugula
4 ounces smoked blue cheese, crumbled
1 pound cherries, pitted
1 cup smoked almonds or toasted almonds
Serves 4 as a side salad.