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Leaf salads don't have to be boring!

Posted: Friday, Jun. 22, 2012

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

"Chef Troy" Gagliardo hosts a weekly cooking segment called "Troy's Everyday Eats" live every Tuesday on WCCB News Rising from 7 to 9 a.m. He has made over 300 appearances on the show showcasing over 1000 of his unique original recipes. He was also voted one of the Top Five best chefs in Charlotte in 2013. Troy has penned a cookbook called Pseudo Southern, which has been endorsed by celebrity chef and best selling author Fabio Viviani. His business Motown Spice Provisions supplies some of the top restaurants and country clubs in the greater Charlotte area for the past 10 years. He is a self-taught chef who learned early on the importance of family and food, and the connection between both, from his parents and grandparents. Contact him at Visit, and follow Troy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Spinach Salad with Charred Corn & Avocado Vinaigrette

News flash…leaf salads are only boring if they are made that way.

The poor, poor, pitiful salad - it never gets any respect or any of the culinary spotlight.

Mostly recognized as a side item, filler or something to eat so we feel healthy. It is time to stand up for leaf salads and make them more than an afterthought.

Prepare a salad that is exciting and vibrate, full of flavor and color, loaded with good things that taste great.

Accent with a dressing (something other than ranch or blue cheese) to elevate it into something it deserves to be…a stand alone “star!”


Serves 4 as an Entrée or 6 as a Side Item

• 1 pound baby spinach

• 3 each, roma tomatoes, deseed & small diced

• 1/2 each, red onions, thin slices into half moons

• 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

• 1 pound bacon, sliced into strips, cooked and drained

• 1 cup sunflower seeds

• 1 pound asparagus, oiled, seasoned, grilled and left at room temperature


• 1 each, avocado, half, remove seed, scoop out flesh

• 1 clove fresh garlic, smashed

• 2 tablespoons cilantro, leaves only

• 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

• Juice of lemon

• 1/2 cup rice vinegar

• 1 cup, canola oil

• 2 cobs corn, parboiled, oiled, seasoned, grilled, slightly charring, removed from cob

Place all of the ingredients except the corn in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add half of the charred corn and pulse just to combine. Corn should still be visible.


Assemble salad in this order, either on separate plates or family style on one platter: spinach, tomato, onion, gorgonzola cheese, bacon, sunflower seeds and grilled asparagus, and top with remaining corn.

Serve the charred corn avocado vinaigrette on the side.

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