Food & Drink

Summer Berry Salad Recipe with Blackberry-Champagne Vinaigrette | What’s Cooking

Two years ago, one of the first recipes that kicked off our What’s Cooking series was a summer berry salad with balsamic fig vinaigrette and spiced, candied almonds. We thought it high time for a new salad idea featuring everyone’s favorite summer ingredient (berries!) for those hot and sunny days.

Mixed Summer Berry Salad Recipe with Blackberry Champagne Vinaigrette. Photo by Jeff Powell.

This time around, we’ve got snack-on-the-leftovers-worthy candied walnuts and a beautifully colored (and flavored) Blackberry-Champagne Vinaigrette. Rounding out this salad, roasted chicken breast and blue cheese (pick a good creamy but crumbly one or a goat cheese, if you find blue too funky) ground everything with their savory notes. Prep your ingredients up to two days in advance, and you’ve got a dinner salad–or office lunch everyone will jealously eyeball–at the ready whenever you are.

You’ll have extra berries after making this recipe. I’d encourage using the additional blackberries to serve up a couple Amelia Cocktails with vodka, lemon and St. Germain, or get a couple extra pints while you’re shopping and make your menu a real berry bonanza with a summertime dessert like our Shortcakes with Lemon Curd or White Chocolate Mousse.

Mixed Summer Berry Salad Recipe with Blackberry Champagne Vinaigrette. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Mixed Berry and Chicken Salad with Blackberry-Champagne Vinaigrette
From our Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe and our Entertaining at Home Cookbook
(Serves 6 as a main course or 12 as a first course)

Candied Walnuts
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 large egg white
10 ounces walnut halves and pieces
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Easy Candied Walnuts Recipe.Easy Candied Walnuts Recipe.Easy Candied Walnuts Recipe.Easy Candied Walnuts Recipe.

1. To make the candied walnuts, preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with the cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk the egg white until it is completely foamy and no liquid remains. Fold in the walnuts and brown sugar, then toss gently to coat evenly. Arrange the walnuts on the prepared baking sheet, keeping the individual pieces separate.

2. Bake until the egg white-sugar mixture is cooked through and the nuts are golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Loosen the nuts from the pan with a spatula and set aside on a plate to cool. Measure out 1/2 cup for adding to the vinaigrette and the balance for adding to the salad. (The nuts can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)

Champagne Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe with Blackberries.

Blackberry-Champagne Vinaigrette
1 shallot, quartered
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Dash of freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/3 cup blackberries
1/2 cup candied walnuts
1 1/2 cups canola or extra-virgin olive oil

Champagne Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe with Blackberries.

3. To make the vinaigrette, combine the shallot and garlic and process until finely minced in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, blackberries and 1/2 cup walnuts and process to combine the ingredients thoroughly. With the machine running, gradually add the oil in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Mixed Summer Berry Salad Recipe with Blackberry Champagne Vinaigrette. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Berry Salad
1 pound mixed baby greens
1 1/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and julienned
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese (about 6 ounces)
2 cups candied walnuts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blackberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

4. To assemble the salad, combine the greens, chicken, blue cheese and 2 cups walnuts in a large bowl. Drizzle about 1 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently to coat all the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add two-thirds each of the raspberries, blackberries and strawberries and toss gently to mix well.

5. Using thongs, transfer the salad to chilled salad bowls or plates, building height in the center. Scatter the remaining berries evenly on top of the salads. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Note: The vinaigrette recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups of dressing. Place extra dressing in a sealed jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Use on almost any salad of mixed greens or vegetables.

Mixed Summer Berry Salad Recipe with Blackberry Champagne Vinaigrette. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Try this dish and others at a Nordstrom Restaurant near you, and find more recipes to make at home in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom Cookbooks. Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

–Jeff Powell