Recipe: Field salad with fresh balsamic vinaigrette

Total time: 20 minutes, plus soaking and cooling time

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Shaun Murphy from the book "From the Dining Car" by James D. Porterfield. Served on the private rail car the Scottish Thistle.

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender, pulse together the mustard and garlic until finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, then the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and thyme. Adjust the vinegar if desired and season to taste. This makes a generous cup dressing, more than is required for this recipe; the remaining dressing will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Salad and assembly

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

4 cups mesclun lettuce

Prepared balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 pound goat cheese

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in water to cover until plump, 30 minutes to 1 hour, then drain and set aside.

3. While the raisins are soaking, spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven just until golden brown, not dark, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-toast or the nuts will burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

4. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the raisins and nuts. Add the dressing a couple of tablespoons at a time, tossing in just enough to coat the salad lightly. Pile the salad on each of 4 small salad plates and evenly top with crumbled goat cheese.

Each serving: 268 calories; 7 grams protein; 13 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 22 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 13 mg. cholesterol; 162 mg. sodium.

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