The air is starting to change and I feel fall creeping in. I always get wistful at the end of August, everything seems tinged with the faintest sense of bittersweet nostalgia as yet another summer comes to end. I live for these three months, but that isn’t to say there isn’t something magical about September. Unseasonably warm days and cool, chilly nights; bumper crops of brightly colored fruits and veggies; beach days that leave you feeling like you’ve stolen something since they’re so late in the season; and that golden glow as the light fades at the end of the day. September also happens to be the month my husband and I chose to celebrate our wedding…nearly six years ago. So that makes it pretty magical too.
OK that’s enough waxing poetic for one post.
This salad was born out of an overflowing refrigerator when the four of us spent a week at the beach in early August. It was a clean-out-the-cupboard kind of dinner as the week drew to a close and it ended up being so delicious that I recreated it at home for my mom, Manster, Baby Ice and I (though it ended up being splurge-y when you had to purchase all the ingredients). We enjoyed this salad outside on the back patio while the mosquitoes nibbled on our ankles and Baby Ice ham-fisted gobs of juicy blackberries. Manster romped around the backyard doing anything but eating but my mom and I devoured the entire serving bowl while draining our glasses of frosty Chardonnay. It was just a nice way to end the day. Outside, with the people I love, eating really delicious (guilt-free) food, on a beautiful late-summer evening.
OK I guess I couldn’t stop waxing.
Summer Salad with Brie, Plums, Glazed Walnuts and a Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Ingredients for the salad:
½-cup of walnut halves and pieces – $5.99
A pat of unsalted butter – stock
Teaspoon of brown sugar – stock
5-oz clamshell of baby arugula – $3.49
¼-lb of Brie or Saint Andre cheese, diced – $3.00
Pint of blueberries, (reserve a small handful of blueberries for the dressing) – $3.99
Pint of blackberries – $3.49
1 ripe plum, chopped – $1.50
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, sliced thinly – $1.29
Ingredients for the dressing:
¼-cup Balsamic vinegar – stock
¼-cup Extra Virgin olive oil – stock
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard – stock
1 Tablespoon honey – stock
Small handful of blueberries – calculated above
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $22.75
Cost per serving: $7.58
Directions for the salad:
1. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over med-low heat. Add the walnuts and sugar and stir well. Saute until walnuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 4 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
2. Combine the remaining salad ingredients (set aside a small handful of blueberries) in a large bowl. Add the glazed walnuts once cool.
Directions for the dressing:
1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the reserved handful of blueberries with the remaining dressing ingredients and pulse until smooth.
2. Drizzle over the prepared salad and serve