It wasn’t until Cabot Creamery delivered a box of cheddar, that I decided to toss cheddar back into my salads. The only reason why I stopped, was because feta, parmesan or goat cheese also became a few of my favorite salad additions. As a kid, Dad used to effortlessly toss large garden salads of tomato wedges, crisp iceberg lettuce, chunky carrot slices and thick, sliced cucumbers with cheddar chunks thrown into the bowl. Other people made similar salads with cubes of meat. Dad also introduced to us to salads made with greens grown from our backyard garden. When most people were eating sweet iceberg, we were munching on delicate, bitter greens: the type of pre-washed greens most people currently buy. Today’s salads are nuanced plates with artfully arranged vegetables.
This salad is a slight nod to those robust garden salads of yesterday, but it’s updated with blueberries, dried cherries, delicate greens and smoked turkey (hopefully not the deli style). Juicy blueberries and tart dried cherries sweetly uplifts the salad. The cheddar adds a creamy and tangy balance to the sweet and savory textures. The Creamy Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette marries all the flavors well.
The delicate dark greens may seem as if this salad is a side dish. It’s a hearty dish. It’s a time saver meal (great for weekdays). And, it packs well for lunch the following day (separately pack the Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette in another container). In addition, it’s one of those dinner salads for hot summer days, in which the oven stays off. When buying the ingredients for this salad, visit a butcher or the speciality meat section for smoked turkey or chicken. Since the meat is already cooked, the other ingredients for this salad comes together in lighting-speed.
Juicy blueberries replaces tomato wedges. Use authentic smoked duck, turkey or chicken instead of cubes of deli-style meat. Tender, young, dark greens replace torn crisp iceberg lettuce. As a chunky, nuanced and hearty salad, the Cheddar and Smoked Chicken Salad with Creamy Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette continues Dad’s tradition of mindlessly tossing garden fresh dinner meals with delicate ease.