How to make your salad the life of the summer party

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Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - As summer approaches, you're more inclined to opt for fresher foods and simpler meals. But lighter fare doesn't mean a boring bed of lettuce. There are plenty of delicious ways to get creative with your leafy greens, making your salad the star of the cookout.

Here are a few tips to make your salad worthy of top billing:

* Go nuts: Almonds, pecans and walnuts provide flavor, body and crunch, giving your salad the perfect boost. Nuts are some of the most versatile salad add-ins, as they go well with both sweet and savory flavors. Keep re-sealable packs of Fisher(R) Pecan Halves, Walnuts and Slivered Almonds on hand for a fresh and easy addition to any salad.

* Sass up your salads: Leafy greens are often the foundation of any salad, but don't forget to add other veggies. Snap peas provide a fresh and delicious crunch, and cucumbers are a cool and refreshing addition during the hottest summer months.

* A fruitful effort: Dried or fresh fruits provide sweet and tart flavors to complement the more bitter varieties of leafy greens, like arugula. Adding something like Fisher Dried Cranberries can really help even out the flavor of a salad that's heavy on the veggies. Try mixing in dried cranberries and Fisher Chopped Walnuts for a great one-two punch.

* Say cheese: The right cheeses provide a rich and savory boost to your salad. Feta works well with a vinaigrette dressing, and freshly shredded Parmesan is a great way to top off almost any salad.

* Fire up the grill: Even if you're going lighter with your main course, you can still grill something tasty for your get-together. Beef up your salad with a cut of fine meat, marinated in your favorite dressing. Then, drizzle the dressing on your salad too. Try this Grilled Asian Salad from Fisher Nuts and let your salad dressing do double-duty.

Fisher Grilled Asian Steak Salad

Marinade and dressing:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup vegetable oil

Salad:

8 ounces boneless beef top sirloin steak, about 3/4-inch thick

1 package (10 ounces) hearts of romaine lettuce

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

1/4 cup julienne sliced carrot

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup Fisher Chef's Naturals Whole Almonds, toasted

Directions:

1. For marinade, combine all ingredients in small bowl; whisk until blended. Reserve 2/3 cup for salad dressing.

2. Place steak and remaining marinade in resealable plastic food storage bag; turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator several hours or overnight; turning occasionally.

3. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium coals. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Place steak on grid of grill. Grill, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes turning occasionally or until preferred doneness.

4. Remove steak from grill to cutting board. Carve steak crosswise into thin slices.

5. Meanwhile, place lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, carrot, and onion in large bowl; toss. Arrange salad on large serving platter; top with steak slices. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with reserved dressing.

For more summer recipes, go to www.fishernuts.com/recipes. Visit Fisher Nuts on Facebook and share your summer entertaining ideas.

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