Best Spring Salad Recipe

It occurred to me recently that my palette is quite eclectic; always changing, constantly surprising me, and never afraid of a healthy challenge. With that said, my trips to the grocery store have proven even stranger. I left the Whole Foods Market in Mount Pleasant yesterday with the oddest assortment of items. Among other things I came home with kiwis, French apricot preserves, Japanese Mochi, plain Greek Yogurt, Ak-Mak sesame crackers, and organic peanut butter?

There was no logic, reason, or set recipe use for ANY of these purchases! Typical.

Similarly, it seems to be all but uncommon for me to enter my kitchen without a concrete plan of action or recipe for my next meal. Today, however, I was more than pleased with the outcome of my "impromptu" recipe:

Strawberry, Avocado, Feta Salad with Garlic Confit Vinaigrette*
- handful of mixed baby lettuces
- handful of baby spinach
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 4-5 fresh strawberries, sliced
- half of an avocado, diced
- desired amount of crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tbsp garlic confit vinaigrette* (recipe follows)
- Mixed all the above ingredients, toss lightly with Garlic Confit Vinaigrette

Garlic Confit Vinaigrette

Makes 3/4 cup of vinaigrette. The extra garlic confit can be stored in the refrigerator submerged in the remaining oil for about a week.

(For the garlic confit)
the cloves from 2 heads of garlic, peeled and stem ends sliced off
3 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
1 to 1/2 cups olive oil

(For the vinaigrette)
8 cloves (or so) garlic confit
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup garlic-infused olive oil

First make the garlic confit. In a very small saucepan, combine the peeled garlic cloves, thyme or rosemary and the olive oil. Make sure the olive oil completely covers the garlic cloves. Cook the mixture over as low a heat as possible for 25 to 35 minutes, until the garlic cloves are golden brown and very tender. Allow the garlic and oil to return to room temperature.

To make the vinaigrette, take 8 or so of the garlic cloves and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and using a spoon, mash the garlic until it is very smooth. Add the lemon juice and vinegar and whisk to combine. In a slow, steady stream, add 1/2 cup of the oil that the garlic cooked in, whisking to emulsify. Grind in a bit of fresh cracked black pepper and taste to see if the seasonings need adjusting.
Rosemary Feta MOCHI

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