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Good salad to precede clam linguine

My boyfriend and I are going to have dinner w/ the boss and I've volunteered to bring a salad. He is making a linguine with clams and I want to bring a salad that would compliment the dish. I was thinking of something along the lines of a spinach salad with some kind of fruit, walnuts, blue cheese and a nice vinaigrette... any ideas?

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  1. I've always preceded my clam linguine with a savory Caesar Salad.

    3 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      I couldn't possibly agree more strongly with the Caesar Salad suggestion. That plus bread with the pasta sounds like a perfect meal.

      1. re: ccbweb

        Caesar sounds great - My latest caesar type salad is a celery caesar - with celery root (shredded) and celery leaves - I can't get enough of this!

        1. re: harryharry

          I agree whole heartedly with the Caesar option. Especially if you are bringing the salad to a function where you may not know everybody. It is a very safe bet.

    2. dunno that i would want to segue from bleu cheese to clams?

      perhaps think outside the lettuce box and do a salad of raw zucchini and carrot shreds, finished with an orange vinaigrette.

      1. Spinach salad with toasted nuts sounds nice. I would skip the fruit but would be okay with blue cheese as long as the result was not too creamy of a dressing. Want it to be in contrast to the upcoming creamy pasta.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kitchensalli

          linguine with clam sauce isn't typically creamy...

        2. my two cents: lose the cheese. believe me -that hurts me to say [a real blue cheese lover here], but the thought of blue cheese and clams just doesn't work for me.

          fruit [dried cranberries and some orange slices maybe?], walnuts, vinaigrette - all sound great

            1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

              I was also going to suggest including shaved fennel in the salad, although I would make it an accent among greens (maybe some arugula), rather than the entire salad.

              1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                Fennel was my immediate idea too. Shaved fennel dressed with good olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I love the simplicity of the dressing!

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I'd have a sliced orange-red onion-fennel-black olive w oil and lemon after the pasta. Before, why not a simple savory antipasto of roasted red peppers, capers, and anchovies. Maybe alongside some sliced soppressata and more green olves, too.

                2. I agree with shaved fennel. Maybe add some oranges. Or, you could go simple Italian, and do an arugula salad with shaved parm and a lemon vinaigrette.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: perk

                    This is what I was going to say. Both fruit and blue cheese don't scream linguine with clams. I would want to known red or white preparation as well. Arugula with shaved parm and a nice lemon olive oil dressing sounds appetizing.

                    1. re: melpy

                      I agree with either simple arugula salad or the shaved fennel (with orange supremes and pecorino.) sorry to say but the idea of blue cheese and walnuts prior to linguine with clams sounds very unappealing. YOu would not find anything like this in Italy, but that is really not an issue, I realize.

                      I would so something simpler and less rich than a Caesar salad.

                      This is the fennel salad recipe I use, but you can just improvise....simple lemon juice and good olive oil for dressing. I omit the pomegranate seeds unless I happen to have them around, but for a dinner party they would be pretty.


                      Whichever you choose, do not dress the salad before you arrive.

                      1. re: erica

                        agree about the caesar. as much i enjoy one that is well-made it's very assertive flavor-wise, with a rich dressing, and isn't the best choice before a delicate dish that will taste of the sea. the first course should excite the palate, not dull it.

                        americans have this thing about cheese before dinner and i simply don't get it.

                        i love fennel but not everybody does, so the op will have to judge.

                        if bringing fennel that is already shaved but undressed be sure to acidulate it so it doesn't turn brown before dinner. :)

                    2. Thanks all! The spinach salad I had in mind, because the original entree was grilled steak and was told of the menu change yesterday and for the life of me, I've never had a clam linguine. I think I'll go with fennel and arugula, parm and the light olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper recommendation :)

                      1 Reply
                      1. I've made this for a crowd a few times with great praise. I use mint instead of tarragon. It might be nice plated over spring lettuce mix, arugula or spinach.


                        Edit: What you are describing above sounds like a version I make to top chicken milanese, only with the addition of sliced cherry tomatoes.

                        1. One thing I did not consider was whether they were making a white or red clam sauce. I had assumed white (my favorite), and made my recs based on that....if a red sauce is being made, the suggestions would still work, but might spark other ideas as well.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Science Chick

                            good point! I only make or order white. So that was my train of thought as well.

                            red would open up stronger taste profiles, but blue cheese would never be one of them. perhaps a really big salad with a nice assortment of greens and veggies and an italian vinaigrette.

                            1. re: Science Chick

                              yes. a red clam sauce is a different animal altogether. and I think I might have been served a 'white' clam sauce once that had plenty of cream. some butter, perhaps. but cream? no. thank you.

                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                I would recommend the same salad regardless of whether the clam sauce was red or white.

                                I've never heard of any clam sauce with cream. Maybe restaurants finish with butter, but this would not be found in an Italian recipe.

                                I hope you have a good dinner, and a good time.

                                1. re: erica

                                  No, no cream, in either clam sauce. Makes me shudder, actually.....

                              1. I love caesar salad but I also like this arugula salad with the vinaigrette. I don't care for fennel.


                                1. You have a lot of suggestions here. I would go with a mixed salad - with mushrooms, tomatoes, thinly sliced carrots, thinly sliced cucumber, radishes, etc. - the basic mixed salad. I'd go with a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and freshly chopped herbs dressing (and maybe some lemon). And do make some home made croutons, Sounds delicious to mw.

                                  1. We went with shaved fennel and blood oranges over arugula. For the dressing, we used some of the blood orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, pink sea salt and pepper. I'm including a photo. This was everyone's first time trying the fennel and it was a hit. Thanks all for the recommendations!

                                    3 Replies
                                        1. re: getinmytummy

                                          Looks fantastic, and love the plates and plating

                                        2. With seafood, my first thought is asparagus. And we're right in season now.