I fell in love with a salad like this one years ago when I lived in beautiful Prescott, Arizona, at a no-longer-existent restaurant called Prescott Pantry. The quaint restaurant had a homespun, offbeat vibe, quirky touches and unassuming real food with fresh baked goods on the side. The little place was always packed for lunch; I ordered a half-sandwich and a half-salad like this one nearly every time.
We moved away from Prescott, and years later I heard that the Pantry had closed. I have no idea what happened to the restaurant, however, I can assume that the economic downturn of those years was a factor, as it was for many mom-and-pop restaurants of its kind.
I'm always amazed at the way food makes an impression on us, even years later, miles away -- the sounds and smells and tastes are like a quiet soundtrack playing the music of times gone by. I remember who sat across the table from me, and although the content of our conversations is now obscured in my memory, those same feelings of warmth and kindness rise up with each bite of apple mixed with feta and pecan.
Apple, pecan and feta green salad with balsamic dressing
2 cups crisp mixed lettuce greens
1 apple (like Braeburn), chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
For the balsamic dressing:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Place greens onto a large plate or into a wide salad bowl. Top with apples, feta and pecans. Garnish with red onion on the side, if using. Drizzle with balsamic dressing just before serving.
To make the dressing: Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until sugar dissolves and dressing comes together and is emulsified. Store in the refrigerator in a jar or airtight container.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.