This salad is beau­ti­ful and de­li­cious

Cecil Whig - - JUMPSTART - By Re­Becca Bent

Have you ever no­ticed that when­ever you sit down to a beau­ti­ful dish, it just adds some­thing spe­cial to the meal? You get a lit­tle more ex­cited about what you’re about to eat and some­how (un­less the dish is a to­tal bum­mer) this makes it taste a lit­tle bet­ter.

Have you also ever no­ticed that some­times sal­ads get over­looked — I don’t know why, but they do. So with that in mind, this hol­i­day week­end con­sider pre­par­ing your salad with a few small de­tails that will make it more beau­ti­ful and de­li­cious. Cherry Berry Salad with Bal­samic Re­duc­tion

Makes four sal­ads For bal­samic re­duc­tion: 2 ta­ble­spoons honey 1/2 cup bal­samic vine­gar

For the cherry berry salad: 4 heap­ing hand­fuls of your fa­vorite mi­cro greens 20 cher­ries, pit­ted and sliced into quar­ters 20 to 30 black­ber­ries Thin sliv­ers of Parme­san cheese (to your lik­ing or an­other cheese that you like on salad) Re­ally good ex­tra vir­gin olive oil Salt Pep­per Pre­pare the bal­samic re­duc­tion. In a clean small sauce pan over medium heat com­bine the honey and bal­samic vine­gar. Whisk the liq­uid un­til it bub­bles, for about two min­utes. Re­duce the heat to medium and when it takes on a syrupy con­sis­tency, turn off the heat. This will take about an­other eight min­utes. Scrape the re­duc­tion into a bowl and place it to chill in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

When you are ready to make the salad, equally di­vide up the greens among four plates. Dec­o­rate it with the cher­ries and black­ber­ries. Sprin­kle it with the Parme­san cheese sliv­ers. Driz­zle the bal­samic re­duc­tion over the salad. Add a lit­tle ex­tra vir­gin olive oil. Add salt and pep­per to taste. Serve im­me­di­ately.

Note: This idea of small de­tails can be added to any salad. The trick is to find one small de­tail to make from scratch so that it cre­ates a more unique dish.

An­other ex­am­ple would be to make home­made crou­tons or salad dress­ing. I like to even in­clude baked cheese (lacy Parme­san crisps) on my salad. Yes, that’s right. Baked cheese! In Italy they call it frico.

You pre­pare it by plac­ing freshly grated Parme­san cheese on a lightly sprayed sheet pan and bake it in the oven (350 F) un­til the cheese melts and be­comes lacy. This doesn’t take very long so don’t go any­where. Im­me­di­ately scrape the cheese up off the sheet pan with a metal spat­ula, oth­er­wise it will stick. When it cools, break it up into lit­tle bits. Its nutty fla­vor is out of this world.

Cook­ing at Home is a weekly col­umn where Re­becca dishes on what she’s been mak­ing.

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