Calling all summer salads!
OK, We are cleaning up the grill, sprucing up the deck, feeling peppy in the warm spring air: so what are are best ideas for summer salads???
Give up some ideas of what works for you...talk about some new ideas you have had.
Latest obsession...Jicama. Grate it and mix it with dressing made from creme fraiche, squeeze of lemon juice, touch of honey, sprinkle of fresh chopped marjoram. The hardest part of this recipe is finding the jicama, peeling and grating these huge brown monsters. But, the reward is a bright white, crunchy and fresh tasting flesh. If you can find it, add some Penzey's Sunny Paris...bonus!
Not really a salad but canteloupe and prosciutto
edamame and radishes with sesame oil vinaigrette
curried couscous salad from Silver Palate
cold sesame noodles with carrots and cucumber
rice, avocado, black beans, corn, and diced red pepper with lime vinaigrette
Paula Deen's coleslaw
Lettuce, broken up spicy blue corn chips, shredded cheddar, black beans, diced cucumber, salsa and extra hot sauce. I guess you could add some avocado as well.
A really good cookbook for salads is "Once Upon a Tart."
I love hearts of palm too, and often just eat them plain, but this is a great recipe for using them. Just make sure that the avocados aren't overripe, because if they are, you will end up with guacamole with chunks of hearts of palm in it. The lemon really brightens everything up, too.
wheat berries, cucumber, red pepper, feta, and mint. I usually just dress it with good olive oil and wine vinegar, salt & pepper. it tastes fantastic after being in the fridge overnight, too. sometimes I add olives, zucchini, flat parsley, whatever I have readily available. but I love the wheat berries, and lots of fresh herbs.
Nothing tastes like summer to me like wilted fresh greens salad with a hot bacon drippings & vinegar dressing, crumbled bacon/hardcooked eggs/scallions or red onion.
With the leaf lettuce I like scallions, with spinach, red onion. Here, to save typing out my own, is a very good recipe for the spinach/red onion variation. Thin-sliced radish adds zing, texture, and nice color.
(Pre-washed baby spinach, of course, makes this a real snap.)
There you go. Wilted lettuce. I was hoping I wasn't the only one who eats it.
Our version is about as simple as you can get: fill a big bowl with leaf lettuce, top with a little onion and sugar, then drizzle with cider vinegar. Fry some bacon cut into pieces, and dump that, grease and all, over the lettuce. Toss well. It's a thing of beauty.
That's almost exactly how I do mine, except that I add the vinegar & sugar to the drippings and get it all hot. (I do love the chopped hardcooked egg in it; makes the dressing wonderfully creamy and the salad more substantial. If you've never tried it, do.)
I wish I had a dollar for every huge bowl of that we scarfed down when I was a kid. It was the harbinger of summer in Dallas, scallions and lettuce being the first things ready to pick from the Victory Garden. With cornbread it made a meal, and I've not tasted many better meals since.
Summer screams for potato salad...coleslaw, cucumber and onions in sour cream, ripe tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella then drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil leaves ( I refuse to say the EVOO word!), and yes the old favorite 3 bean salad,
cold pasta and rice salads...fresh fruit salads..on and on...
Here's one I invented this past weekend ...
16-oz package frozen purple hull peas, cooked, salted, and cooled
corn cut from 3 cobs, blanched, and cooled
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 lg purple onion, diced
sweet grape tomatoes, halved
2 avocadoes, diced
freshly-ground white pepper
raspberry balsamic vinegar
1T olive oil
imported parmesan (garnish)
I love to make a cold rice salad....add to cooked rice, multi colored chopped bell peppers, some red onion, chopped mushrooms, black olives, chopped scallions, and any Italian dressing of your choice...chill well and serve. Sometimes my son even adds some feta cheese to his.
barley, brown rice, or farro is a great base for salad. i add whatever is in season -- corn, tomatoes, cilantro; eggplant, mint, tomato, feta; radicchio, pancetta, ricota salata, etc.
i also love a good grilled caponata, with charred onions and eggplant
panzanella -- bread salad with tomatoes, basil, red onion, mybe some fennel, anchovies
shredded raw kale is surprisingly delicious with shaved parmigiano, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and currants. (that one is from a place called alias in new york).
string beans and potatoes with pesto...
also, grill up a flank steak and slice it over some arugula -- tagliata. or make a thai salad with the flank.
I just made up my own salad tonight of some things I needed to use up and it was great!
It had chick peas (cooked from dried in water with onion/garlic/kombu), fresh fava beans simmered and skinned, 3 colors of beets roasted in oven, tomatoes, red onion, with vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, lemon juice. The multicolored beets really make this salad. Might be even better without the beans, but it was a good way to use them.
I like making a grilled ratatoille salad. I chope the requisite vegetable into bite size cubes of various dimensiouns: zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, egglplant, fennel. Then add gralic, fresh tarragon, and salt. Stir to coat the vegetable and then grill them in batches. As they come off the grill, into a salad bowl they go, correct the seasoning and I serve at any temperature. Even cold leftover are yummy!
Lately I've been making salads with olive oil packed tuna, or water packed red salmon. I mix in chopped onions, capers, pickles (just a teeny bit), chickpeas and then put it atop fresh spinach leaves.
I've also taken to making a lemon dressing which is just lemon, olive oil and dijon mustard - very refreshing! It also goes with just about everything - potatoes, salads, etc.
Epicurious's recipe orzo with everything...orzo, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, parm. cheese, basil, radicchio..I made this salad for Teacher's appreciation and now have to email the school secretary with the recipe because everyone loved it so much!!!
Also, Super slaw from Epi. too....EXCELLENT and would be great with grilled shrimp or chicken, I ate it one night with canned salmon!
Here are two versions of spinach salad that show up frequently at our summer potlucks...
Clarice's Spinach & Strawberry Salad
1 pkg baby spinach (approx 1 lb)
1 to 2 baskets fresh strawberries
2 to 4 green onions, sliced
(or sub red onion, or 1/2 c chopped SWEET onion if in season)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts (optional)
Prepare salad ingredients. Use whole fresh baby spinach or stem and tear large fresh spinach leaves into bite size pieces. Slice or quarter berries, not too thin, depending on size. Slice green onions into 1/2 inch thick rounds or coarse chop sweet type.
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c salad oil (not olive)
1/4 c vinegar (red wine, light balsamic, cider - your choice)
2-3 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder (optional)
Few slices crisp, chopped bacon (optional)
Mix well and chill for a while to blend flavors.
Assemble salad and dress just before serving (spinach wilts quickly on standing with dressing) or assemble and serve dressing on the side. Double for a crowd - (two baskets of berries are plenty for 2 pkgs spinach).
Paula's Spinach and Mandarin Orange Salad
8 cups torn spinach (about a 10 ounce bag)
1 pkg. presliced mushrooms (8 ounces)
2 cans (11 ounces each) mandarin orange segments, in light syrup, drained
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (1 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup fat free raspberry vinaigrette (such as Girard's)
Place 2 cups of spinach on each of 4 plates. Arrange 1/2 cup mushrooms and 1/3 cup oranges over spinach. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1&1/2 teaspoons pecans; drizzle each with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Makes 4 large servings.
I love shaved fennel or celery with lemon juice and salt. That's it. If you want to get fancy, throw some basil with the fennel or parsley with the celery.
Grated raw beets mixed with plain yogurt, orange zest and mint.
Steamed chayote chunks with spicy vinaigrette.
Arugula, red onion and peaches with sesame-ginger dressing.
I make a cold asparagus salad that is just divine and can be prepared ahead:
It is a very simple vinaigrette but it is really refreshing cold and does get better with a few hours in the fridge.
cantaloupe, smoked salmon and mint
watermelon, feta, black olives and mint
couscous with tons of shredded parsley, mint and basil
pickled carrot shreds with cumin, ginger and rosewater
blanched green beans or asparagus with hard-boiled egg shredded over
strawberry, kiwi and poppyseed
watercress with preserved lemon and toasted almonds or pistachios
roasted peppers with olives and goat cheese
My favorite salad is greens or spinach, pickled beets, goat cheese, and pine nuts.
A salad-like side dish that comes to mind is one of my favorites come from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks. It contains:
Coucous plumped with veg broth (I use chicken)
chopped toasted walnuts (I toast them quite thoroughly so they stay somewhat crunchy)
juice and rind of an orange
Delicious! And it's good at room temp; actually better than straight out of the fridge.