Not So Boring Salads!

Let me start by writing that this past week was very special.  A department store at the mall is going out of business and everything is 70off.  My sweet husband thought he would roam the kitchen department  and found some great deals.  He brought home a beautiful shine All-Clad Lasagna Pan.  But, that’s not all – this was a gift set that had the pan, 2 hot mitts and a wonderful Italian cookbook.  (I haven’t been able to read through it all, but the first pages are really good. And I am trying one of the recipes this week.)  The other gift was a mixing bowl with a suction holder. I already had a larger version and love it.  This was the smaller bowl of the set.  
With all that said – on to the next recipes.  I suppose with my title you know that this is all about salads.  The two salads I have picked out are not just boring lettuce and dressing.  They are simple, but exciting.  
The first salad is from “Savoring Italy”   and the second comes from book by the Culinary Institute of America “Gourmet Meals in Minutes”
Both recipes are very easy and the best part is after you make them you feel like a gourmet chef.   (I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.)
Insalata di Fagioli con Tonno
(bean salad with tuna)
(I have modified this salad a little to make if less time consuming.  It called for dried cannellini beans and I found that canned works just as well.)
1 can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 bag of mixed greens
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup of red onion, chopped
pinch of dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (7 oz. cans water-packed tuna (drained, separated into chunks)
*Place mixed greens, celery, and onion in a large bowl and toss.  
*Sprinkle on the pinch of oregano, the lemon juice and olive. Toss to mix.
*Place the salad mix into 4 individual salad bowls.  Divide the beans and tuna between the 4 bowls and place on top of the salad mix.
(This is a light and simple recipe.)
Baked Goat Cheese
with Mesclun, Pears, and Toasted Almonds
1 1/4 pounds goat cheese, well chilled (makes it easier to slice)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 pounds mesclun lettuce mix
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 pears, cored, sliced into thin wedges
1 cup almonds, sliced, toasted
(makes 8 servings)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  
*Slice the goat cheese into 1/2-inch thick discs.  Gently coat the goat cheese with the breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet.  *Bake the goat cheese in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Allow the cheese to cool slightly before removing from tray. (It will fall apart if you move it too soon.  While you wait you can assemble the salads on the plates.)
*Toss the meslun mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
*Divide the lettuce into 8 portions and mound each portion on a plate.
*Top each portion with 3-4 pear slices, about 2 tablespoons of the toasted almonds, and
*2 goat cheese rounds
 These are both wonderful tasting salads and wonderfully easy.  I hope you will try them.  Enjoy and have a great week!

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