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Author Notes: We've had a lot of picnics at the Botanic Gardens this summer partly because it is so close and so fabulous but mainly because our yard is a horrible dirt pit and it has been hot hot hot. I need to either pack our picnic early in the day and assemble it there on a blanket in the grass or pick up a pile of snackables on the way. Wanting to use the lovely chard in our garden (and satiate my seemingly incurable need for pickled things in salads) I decided to layer a big salad in a jar. The dressing and pickled onions would go on the bottom to keep the greens from getting soggy. And either way the chard would hold up longer than some flimsy lettuce. I added in some crumbled blue cheese to play off the tangy vinaigrette and some toasted pecans to help balance the sweet and pungent flavors. Once there, we dumped it into a big bowl, tossed and served and everything was as it should be. We ate it as a side, but it would be a good meal on its own or topped with chicken or steak. —savorthis
Serves 4 large or 8 small servings
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 cups hearty greens (escarole, chard, kale) and arugula or similar
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
- 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (optional)
- Simmer vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot until sugar is dissolved. Add onion and jalapeño (if desired) for several minutes until onions are soft. Let sit a few minutes, then remove onions with a slotted spoon placing into the bottom of two medium containers.
- Add dates to vinegar mixture and steep until softened. Pour dates and vinegar into a blender, add lemon and pepper and blend until smooth pouring walnut oil slowly to emulsify. Pour dressing on top of onions.
- Pack greens on top of dressing layering in cheese and top off with nuts. Refrigerate until ready to pack.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Picnic Recipe
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dark, Leafy Greens
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Portable Side