Mesclun is a special mixture of baby greens, originating from Provence. I enjoy them because they are dark green and leafy (not crunchy). Darker, leafier greens are much healthier for you, and accordingly, most people don’t find them very appetizing. But mesclun greens are delicious! Usually this mixture involves some baby arugula, chervil, frisée, or mustard greens. Honestly, you can also buy spring mixes and herb mixes prepackaged at the store, and those work great in this salad as well. You definitely want something with a little spice, a lettuce mix that has its own flavors to contribute.
As for the pine nuts, I’ve added them to this salad because pine nuts are not used nearly enough. They are fairly expensive, but when toasted they are divine! Pine nuts are a melt-in-your-mouth treat. They have a high caloric content and contain lots of heart-healthy fats. As a vegetarian, I also love pine nuts because they contain a great range of the B-vitamins which are not easy for me to get elsewhere.
This salad is super easy to make, but it doesn’t save well. The recipe is very easy to halve and quarter, and I would definitely recommend doing so if you think you may not be able to finish what you make.
As an added plus, if you use olive oil instead of butter to toast the pine nuts, the salad is completely vegan friendly!
Mesclun Greens with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves two as an entree, four as an appetizer
5 ounce box of spring mix/herb mix/mesclun greens
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
Cayenne pepper and kosher salt to taste
1/4 tablespoon salted butter (or olive oil for vegans)
1/4 cup craisins
1 green apple, diced
1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette
Next, toast the pine nuts. In a skillet over low heat, melt the butter and toss in the seeds (pine nuts are actually not nuts, but the seeds of pine trees!). It is very important that you watch them carefully and constantly stir them, sprinkling them with a few dashes of cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Pine nuts take no time at all to cook, and it is incredibly easy to burn them! You want them to be slightly browned, but not black. I cooked mine for only a minute or so and they were pretty well done!
Finally, measure out the dressing and drizzle it lightly over the top of the mixture and toss everything together. I know that 1/4 cup of dressing seems like a meager amount for so much salad, but it spreads so well!