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Scrumptious Salads for Mother’s Day

Original post made by Jacqui Love Marshall, San Ramon, on Apr 30, 2010

April showers are generating an abundance of May flowers and foods, just in time for Mother's Day. With the opening of many local Farmers' Markets this weekend, it's an ideal time for setting an elegant luncheon table, dazzling with colorful blooms and lively dishes. I vote for healthy, delightful salads this Mother's Day.

Practically every mother I know – young and older – is minding her calories and looking for ways to enjoy her meals guilt-free. What better way to honor her wishes and provide a delightful dish to show her some love than with a hearty, healthy salad. Whether you go traditional like the classic Cobb Salad or opt for a green-planet recipe like the Tilapia and Apple Salad, celebrate all those days you came home to the perfect meal by making one for her.

Start with freshest local ingredients, organic where you can. Engage the kids and teens as "sous chefs" to handle the chopping, dicing and mincing of salad ingredients. And, while Mom is not looking, pull out her best china dishes, crystal, silverware and linens to set a gorgeous table. Add her favorite blooms, one of these salads served on her most charming serving platter and bread, if you dare. To show you are wiling to flex the rules a bit (after all, you learned it from her!), serve her favorite frozen treat for dessert. The bright endearing smile on her face will say it all: Happy Mother's Day!

Cobb Salad (serves 4-6)
For the Dressing:
¾ cup canola oil
¼ cup light extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire
¼ tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Salad:
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
½ bunch watercress, some of the stems trimmed and chopped
2 oz. blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, crumbled
6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into ½" cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into ½" cubes
1 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into ½" cubes
1 avocado, peeled. Pitted and cut into ½" cubes
2 tsp minced chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Make the dressing: Combine the 2 oils, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar and garlic in a blender. Puree ingredients into a smooth dressing and season with salt and pepper. Set aside (or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 week).
2. Make the salad: On a large platter, combine the iceberg and romaine lettuces with the watercress. Arrange the blue cheese, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, chicken and avocado on top of the greens in decorative rows. To serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad, season with salt and pepper and garnish with chives. Or, toss everything in a large bowl.

Tilapia and Apple Salad with Mustard Sauce (serves 6)
1 cup cold water
4 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp sugar
6 (6-oz) tilapia fillets
3 Tbsp light olive oil, divided
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Cooking spray
8 cups arugula greens
6 cups frisée greens, trimmed
½ cup mint leaves
2 Gala apples, cored and thinly sliced (Note: 2 medium large peaches may be substituted in season.)
1 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
1. Combine 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp salt and the sugar in a shallow bowl. Add fillets and let stand 15 min. Remove fillets from brine and pat dry; discard brine. Brush fillets with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and pepper. Preheat broiler.
2. Place fillets on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 7 min. or until desired doneness.
3. Combine arugula, frisée and mint in a large bowl or platter. Toss apple with 1 Tbsp oil and ¼ tsp salt and add to greens mixture; toss gently.
4. Combine remaining 1 Tbsp oil, remaining ¼ tsp salt, parsley and remaining ingredients (sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, water), stirring with a whisk until well blended.
5. Divide the greens mixture evenly among 6 plates; top each with 1 fillet. Drizzle ~1 Tbsp of the sour cream mixture over each serving. Serve remaining topping on the side.

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