Archive for the ‘Salads and Dressings’ Category

Barbara McKenzie’s Raw Zucchini Salad

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Pauline test drove this recipe and reports she served it as a bed for marinated poached salmon. She says: “It almost seems cooked, but isn’t, and looks beautiful and tastes really good. Great for a hot day, especially, when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.”

* One or two young zucchinis fresh from the garden
* Olive oil
* Lemon juice to taste along with some lemon zest, or possibly red wine or rice wine vinegar
* Cherry tomatoes cut in half if available

Mandoline the zucchini into thin slices (or use a potato peeler). If they seem bitter, sprinkle with salt, let sit for 5 minutes, rinse, drain, and blot away the excess moisture with a kitchen or paper towel.

Put zucchinin in a bowl, add a good olive oil to taste, salt, and some lemon juice along with its zest, or vinegar if you prefer. Add cherry tomatoes cut in half if you have them and toss. Serve immediately, either on its own or as a bed for fish or shrimp.

Body Armour for Mandolining a Zucchini

You need a mandoline to make very thin slices of zucchini for this salad — so please wear protective gear because you can hurt yourself badly if bare fingers get too near the blade. You can find cut-proof butchers gloves online in various price ranges and you only need a single glove (turn it inside out to make it left-handed). ALL professional chefs wear these gloves when using a mandolin and so should you!

Marinated Asparagus Salad

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

This cold salad is refreshing and pretty enough for a dinner party. The mustard in the vinaigrette compliments asparagus nicely.

Snap off the woody bottoms of asparagus spears and steam lightly till tender/crisp. Line spears up on a plate all facing the same way and tip so that any remaining moisture drains off.

Make a vinaigrette of olive oil and a splash of unflavored rice vinegar (available in Asian grocery stores). Beat in a large dollop of dijon mustard to make a creamy dressing, and adjust for salt.

Pour dressing over asparagus and marinate for an hour in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, garnish with cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half.

Light Potato Salad

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

I’ve enjoyed this potato salad recipe for many years. It’s from my friend from grad school, Susan Olexiew. The nutmeg and vinaigrette make a fragrant and tasty combination.

* Red Bliss, Yukon Gold, or Andean Purple Potatoes
* Mild onion (Vidalia or Walla Walla) or ordinary white onion soaked in salt water for 10 or 15 minutes, chopped
* Olive Oil
* Rice Wine Vinegar (unseasoned)
* Sea Salt
* Fresh Grated Nutmeg

Chop the onion into a bowl large enough to contain the finished salad. Boil potatoes in their jackets. When done, peel (or not), dice and add the hot potatoes to the bowl with the onions, which will slightly cook the onions and make them mild.

Add lots of olive oil, rice wine vinegar to taste, sea salt, and stir to combine. Grate nutmeg into the salad until the potatoes are fragrant (taste as you go, it will probably require more nutmeg than expected). Let the salad mellow on the kitchen counter till the flavors blend and serve at room temperature.

Phil Grosser’s Japanese-style Dressing for Arugula Salad

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Phil uses this dressing to mellow out arugula when it starts getting too spicy this time of year, but it works well with any kind of mixed salad greens.

* Rice wine vinegar (unflavored), about 1/3 cup or however much dressing you want to end up with
* Dash of soy sauce
* Sugar or honey to taste
* Grated ginger
* Heaping spoonful of miso (maybe the Miso Master Organic
Mellow White they have at Essene)
* Sesame oil

Mash the miso into the rice vinegar mixture. Dressing should be thick enough to cling to the greens but still pour easily and not be too thick. Add sesame oil. Arrange greens on plate, pour on dressing, and (optional) garnish with thin salad turnip or radish slices (sliced thin on a mandolin if you dare). Serve.



Raw Beets as a Salad Ingredient

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Raw beets have an intense earthy fragrance & sweetness when young and fresh from the garden, and explode with flavor and crunch in your mouth, but they must be sliced very thin to be good — use a mandolin or a potato peeler to get thin shavings.

Here, beets are added to an endive salad along with salad turnips and toasted pumpkin seeds. I used Phil’s Japanese dressing but any sweet & sour vinaigrette (or something with orange juice and zest) would work too.

NOTE: If you use a potato peeler, it’s easier to slice longitudinally (pole to pole) than to slice across.

Technicolor Salads

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The gorgeous colors of fresh fruits and vegetables are great for composing “designer salads”, but the colors are also an index of healthy phytonutrients which are a hot topic in research these days.

Anthocyanins are red/blue/purple — think beets, red grapes (and red wine), strawberries, cherries, red cabbage, pomegranates, plums, cranberries, blackberries, blue berries and raspberries as well as dark leafy greens like chard, kale & collards (the red pigment is hidden by the chlorophyll). In plants, the anthocyanins absorb visible and UV light to minimize oxidative damage from solar radiation. In animals and humans who eat plants, the anthocyanins protect against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. They also reduce inflammation, protect against cancer…

Lycopene is red — think tomato, watermelon, pink grapefruit as well as apricots and pink guavas. They reduce the risk of several types of cancer.

Carotenoids are bright orange/yellow, present in carrots, pumpkins, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes. They are antioxidants that also help improve communication between cells.

Lutins are green but considered a sub-class of carotenoids. They are present in collards, kale, peas, spinach & romaine lettuce. The reduce the risk of macular degeneration of the retina.

So go wild with color in your salads — technicolor combinations of veggies equals healthy! But don’t stop there. It turns out that herbs are packed with curative compounds, too — so a tablespoon of chopped basil, parsley, sage, thyme or tarragon will not only taste delightful but pack a nutritional punch as well.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

This salad is extraordinarily exotic and delicious, but it requires two things: it must have orange flower water and it must be served very cold

1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp freshly juiced lemon juice
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp orange flower water
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper, lightly sprinkled to taste
Fresh mint for garnish

Combine all ingredients except mint and chill for several hours or overnight. Serve garnished with slivers of mint.

Note: you can find orange flower water at Bitar’s, N.E. Corner of 10th and Federal, or at the Indian grocery at 42nd and Walnut, or at DiBruno Bros. in the Italian Market.

Easy Pasta (or Navy Bean) Salad

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

It’s the time of year to harvest the last of our over-wintered chard before it bolts and goes to seed. Here’s a recipe to put the last of those greens to good use.

* Chard, or a mixture of chard, kale, spinach, or other greens that happen to be available
* Sun-dried tomatoes
* Pasta (or cooked navy beans)
* Olive oil
* Feta cheese or toasted pine nuts for garnish

Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in thin strips and soak in a little boiling water.
Remove the stems and central vein from the chard and cut leaves into 3″ pieces.

In a large pot, heat lightly salted water to boiling and add chard or other greens. Cook a minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon. Cook the pasta al dente in the water that the chard was cooked in. Drain.

Combine the chard, drained sun-dried tomatoes, and pasta (or cooked navy beans) in a bowl and dress with olive oil. Garnish with feta cheese and/or toasted pine nuts and serve.

*NOTE: I used an interesting pea-shaped Sardinian pasta called Fregula Sarda which I found at Claudio’s in the Italian Market. It was very good. Cooked navy or other small white bean would be an interesting variation of taste and texture.

Suzanne Schecter’s Green Bean Salad

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Suzanne recreated this dish from one she first tasted at the Annual BBQ some years ago. It is simple, fast, and wonderful:

Steamed green beans, cooled, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar or a little of both
Sun-dried tomatoes
Feta cheese

Dress beans with splashes of olive oil and a little balsamic and/or red wine vinegar. Salt to taste. Toss with a few chunks of sun dried tomatoes and a little bit of feta cheese. Be careful to only add a little feta and tomatoes — too much will make it too rich and heavy, and this salad should be light.

Suzanne adds that if you like you can always use fresh herbs to create variations on the basic theme.