½ ounce asiago cheese, crumbled
¼ cup (½ ounce) toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup dried black currant
½ cup (2 ounces) Roma tomatoes, diced
½ cup (2 ounce) arugula, chopped
½ cup (2 ounces) Israeli couscous, cooked
½ cup (1 ounce) dried super-sweet corn kernels, see note
2 ounces smoked salmon, diced
½ cup basil pesto, or more to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 cup buttermilk
Juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
Salt to taste
For the salad: In a small bowl, combine cheese, pepitas and currants; set aside.
In a shallow bowl or platter, assemble the salad ingredients in rows. Start with tomatoes or arugula at one end; push previous row back with one hand as you place and line up the next ingredient with the other hand. The cheese mixture will go down as the last row.
For the dressing: Add the pesto, mayonnaise and shallot to the work bowl of a food processor and blend thoroughly. With motor running, pour in buttermilk. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend until well combined. If using prepared pesto, taste before adding additional salt. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cook's notes: If pearl couscous is unavailable, substitute a tiny pasta like ditalini. Look for sweet dried corn at the Spice House in Geneva or ask at your local grocer. Cooked chicken can be used in place of the salmon.
Adapted from Cowboy Ciao Restaurant, Scottsdale, AZ