This is my take on The Green Well’s Michigan Harvest Salad. The Green Well is one of my favorite Grand Rapids restaurants, and I’ve made this salad for dinner with roasted chicken in it, or for lunch with cheese and bread. My favorite salads are packed with good stuff, way more than just greens, and what I love about this one is the sweet-crunchy-rich combination of flavors.
One practical thought: I like to caramelize the onions earlier in the day so I’m not starving for salad and getting all impatient with how long the onions are taking.
One of my favorite meals of this year was a late lunch with my editors Angela and Carolyn. They flew in from Jackson, Mississippi, and Eugene, Oregon, respectively, and when they arrived at my house, before we started working, we ate lunch at the little round table in our living room— Green Well Salad, Irish cheese, crusty whole grain bread, sparkling water, and a little plate of coconut macaroons.
1 pound mixed greens
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 sliced pears
2 cups red grapes, halved
1 cup dried cherries, chopped if they’re the big kind 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 4-ounce container crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar 1⁄2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by caramelizing the onions. Slice them thinly and cook them on medium-low heat in a tablespoon of butter until rich, dark brown, about 45 minutes.
For the vinaigrette:
Spoon Dijon into the bottom of a jelly jar. Add balsamic and maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Shake well. Add oil, and shake again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside.
For the salad:
Toss the greens with half the vinaigrette, then add the rest of the ingredients, the rest of the dressing, and toss again.
If you’d like to make it a more substantial main-course salad, you can add two cups or so of sliced, cooked chicken as well.
SERVES: 4 to 6