August 2012 Cookbook of the Month Companion Book, Raising the Salad Bar: Basics, Leafy Greens, Chicken, Meat, and Seafood
Please use this thread to report on dishes from the following chapters:
Salad Basics, pages 16 -25 (few recipes here, but some tips, so I though I'd include it)
Light Leafy Greens, pages 26 - 67
Chicken Salad Every Way, pages 68 - 93
Main Course Meat Salads, pages 94- 105
Seafood Salads, pages 106 - 129
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Vegetable Lovers Salad, Pg. 67
This salad book has come in very handy since it was a COTM. I've made several salads that should be reported on but the one I made last night is truly worth proclaiming immediately.
The vegetables are all cut into a small dice so, as the author says, "they appear like small jewels on the lettuce." The vegetables I used were: pale yellow and white inner leaves of escarole, watercress, tender tips and leaves of celery heart, carrot, red onion (steeped in a little vinegar before adding), and tomatoes. The lettuce leaves were placed into a salad bowl, the diced veggies into mixing bowl.
The dressing which I doubled: balsamic vinegar, Dijon, honey, minced shallot, EVOO, S & P. Mix the leaves with just a little dressing. Toss the diced vegetables with a little more dressing and scatter them on the leaves. Drizzle more dressing on top and serve.
Having some leftover roasted boneless spare ribs I sliced each rib thinly and topped the salad with them. We loved this. It was a Very full flavored main dish salad with a great vinaigrette that satisfied completely.
"Queen of Hearts" Raspberry-Chicken Salad p. 89
Oh dear, can't recommend this one.
Chicken breast is simmered in a small amount of raspberry vinegar until done, then cooled, chopped. Mixed with red onion (I used shallot) and red bell pepper, and mayonnaise and S&P.
This chicken salad tops greens (I had lettuce and raw spinach) which are dressed with raspberry vinaigrette and garnished with raspberries & kiwi fruit -- just kiwi here.
It is not so good--red bell pepper doesn't fit with raspberry flavored dressing (does it?)
And since I was not told to drain the chicken, I carefully kept the juices after simmering it in
raspberry vinegar -- which made the mayonnaise very watery. My fault, but a mess.
Even so, the flavors just didn't appeal as a mix.
Roasted Apricot and Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola, Pg. 52
This is such a simple salad with big flavors to refresh the palate. Two variations are given for the recipe: instead of fresh ripe apricots semi-plump dry ones or fresh ripe peaches may be used. Fresh peaches were sitting in the pantry and this was a good way to use them after a week of eating out of hand. Wash, halve, de-stone the fruit and put into a pre-heated 350F oven on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush a little olive oil all over and roast for about 18 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the arugula, and radicchio, and crumble the gorgonzola. To make the dressing stir together EVOO and balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Put the arugula and radicchio into the salad bowl and toss with a bit of the dressing. Plate the salad, top with peach halves, strew the gorgonzola over all and finish with a drizzle of dressing. E il gioco è fatto.
The cheese was from Trader Joe's imported from Italy - both sweet and spicy, definitely creamy; the arugula was peppery and large leaved - not the baby arugula of the recipe; the radiccio was properly bitter. I used the balsamic vinegar 1 : 1 with Chinese black vinegar - Chinkiang black rice vinegar. That's something I been reading about lately.... substituting Chinkiang for balsamico. It's really quite nice. More depth of flavor with essentially the same slightly sweet after taste. Anyway, it worked well with the peaches and salad leaves. The main dish was Hainanese Chicken from "The Divertimenti Cookbook" by Camilla Schneideman. T'riffic dinner...
I'm really liking the book, GG. When I went to EYB to find a recipe for the Hainanese Divertimenti and Gourmet Today popped up. Read both recipes and decided to go with Divertimenti. I have made about 5 recipes from the book so far and IIRC all were quite good. Would love for it to be a COTM some day... I'll have to look for Schniedeman's salad recipe.
Oh good, glad you and Mr GG liked it. BTW, I found the nectarine recipe and was going to make the salad last night but I've got a bit of a bit of a funny tummy at the mo so had to reschedule. I have all of the ingredients and just hope the nectarines don't have to wait too long.
Roasted Apricot and Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola, Pg. 52
Gio does a fantastic job of describing this dish. I loved the mix of bitter, creamy, and sweet. I'm trying to use up a bottle of white balsamic before I move, so I used that but am very intrigued by the idea of substituting black rice vinegar 1:1 with it. I also used peaches in place of the apricots in this dish. I served this salad with the sun-dried tomato burgers from Radically Simple (which I hope to report on later today when I have a bit more time). The salad upstaged the burgers and will be repeated.
Chicken Salad with Bok Choy, Celery and Peanut - Ginger Vinaigrette, Pg. 75
This is another one of those salads that can be a combination of just about any vegetable one wants to use. I did chop the bok choy and celery as the title indicates but added chopped wide white chard stems as well. The other vegetables are a carrot sliced into matchsticks (I shaved it) , and red bell pepper cut into strips. (I used a jarred roasted one) Instead of roasting 3 split bone-in chicken breasts I used a half of leftover roast chicken, shredded.
The dressing consists of creamy peanut butter, soy sauce (tamari), honey, orange and lime juice, oil (peanut), minced ginger and garlic, S & P all whisked together. Place shredded chicken in a bowl and mix with the dressing. Add the chopped vegetables and toss gently with the chicken and scatter toasted sesame seeds over top... which I forgot to do.
Obviously everything depends on that dressing so make sure you taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. There is a statement that advises one to use the Asian Dressing on page 259 if one does not "care for" a peanut dressing, but this vinaigrette is just fine; peanuty, garlicky and slightly sweet. Went well with a simple but spicy vegetable stir-fry.
Seared Salmon with Baby Greens and Mango Salsa Vinaigrette, page 118
I changed this recipe a bit, and would change it even a bit more the next time. And I do expect that there will be a next time.
You start by preparing the salsa. First combine red wine vinegar, lime juice and honey before whisking in some olive oil. Then add minced red onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin, mango and tomato. I used a serrano instead of a jalapeno pepper and a local peach in place of the mango. Then toss in some salt and chopped cilantro leaves.
I admit to completely disregarding her salmon cooking instructions. She suggests 3-5 minutes of cooking on the stove top and then 6-8 minutes in an oven. Instead, I rubbed some olive oil, salt and pepper on the salmon fillet pieces [2 oz a piece] and used Moonan's screaming hot cast iron under broiler method. Three minutes and the fillets were done.
To serve, place the cooked salmon over greens and spoon the salsa over the top.
In general, I am always suspicious of fruit with savory dishes, but this really worked. Our peaches were just a bit too ripe. One more day and this dish would have been too sweet for me. In the future, I will omit the honey, and increase all the aromatics. As written, this recipe is a very tame salsa but has great potential.
Leafy Green and Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, p. 39
The head note says that the dressing "can be used with a variety of leafy greens and vegetable combinations." The recipe lists red leaf lettuce, red cabbage, red onion, cucumber, carrot, rehydrated arame seaweed, and a garnish of toasted sesame or sunflower seeds. I used a mixture of baby greens (spinach, arugula, red and green romaine), sliced scallions, cucumbers, and carrots, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds (of which I seem to have a surplus in the freezer).
The dressing is lemon juice (Meyer for me), tahini, garlic, olive oil, minced parsley (cilantro for me), and salt and pepper. I used a tablespoon less olive oil than she calls for after tasting as I went, but Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than standard Eurekas. The dressing is tangy, with a fairly subtle tahini flavor - so I'd probably double the tahini to 2 T. next time - and would indeed go with any number of veggies.
Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Figs and Pistachios (page 38)
My first unqualified success from this book.
Dip halved ripe Black Mission figs (thank you, Fairway) in sugar, place cut-side down in a hot skillet slicked with oil, cook for 5 or 6 minutes over medium to medium-high heat (note: way too long, at least for me; I pulled them at 3 and they were already on the far side), and put in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes (15 was plenty).
Toss arugula or mixed baby greens (latter) with a balsamic vinaigrette, plate, add the figs, and garnish with goat cheese and unsalted pistachio nuts (thank you TJs).
Made half a recipe and it was a lovely dinner. Wouldn’t hesitate to serve it as a first course to company.
Curried Chicken Salad, Pg. 80
Since G isn't complaining about all the salads we've been eating, I'm rolling right through this little book quite happy with the results so far. Some have been wonderful and a few not so much but all have been interesting and satisfying. This curried chicken was one of the wonderful ones.
Either bone-in split chicken breasts with skin that you must first roast or already cooked chicken may be used. I chose to poach 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts a la Andrea Nguyen. I suppose the roasted chicken would have contributed much more flavor but the salad was delicious with the poached chicken. When chicken has cooked and cooled shred the meat and put into a mixing bowl.
In the bowl combine the chicken, juice of 1 lemon S & P, diced celery, chopped chives, chopped scallions, minced parsley, halved seedless red grapes, a diced crisp apple (I used a Fuji). Add Curry Mango Chutney Dressing and mix the salad thoroughly. Garnish with roasted nuts. (I used almonds).
The dressing consists of curry powder (I used hot madras), a little mayonnaise, Major Grey's mango chutney, olive oil, lemon juice, S & P. That dressing was really luscious and brought out all the flavors of the salad ingredients. With corn on the cob on the side that's all they ate.
BTW: The photo of this salad in the book shows a serving in a bowl lined with either red cabbage or radicchio. I can't decide which it is , but I didn't do that, simply serving the salad on a dinner plate with the corn.
Greek Salad, Pg. 46
This Greek salad differs from an "authentic" one in that salad greens are used. In this recipe it's Romaine. With the greens added it now becomes the Greek-American version, according to Susanna Hoffman author of "The Olive and the Caper." Ms Walthers omits the chopped green bell pepper usually found in a Greek salad. Nevertheless, Walthers puts together all the other vegetables and vinaigrette to make a very tasty and flavorful salad. I halved the recipe for two people.
Romaine leaves, cucumbers - peeled/seeded/chopped - thinly sliced red onion, chopped tomatoes, crumbled Feta, Kalamatas are combined then dressed with a vinaigrette comprised of: red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano (I used Greek), olive oil (Greek), S & P. Mix everything together with some of the vinaigrette saving the cheese and olives to sprinkle over top the salad. The dressing recipe makes quite a lot and you won't want to use it all... she says to save the rest for another salad which we did.
I thought the ratio of oil to acid was not balanced with too much oil so I kept adjusting till it seemed right to me. The end result was indeed a very nice salad that I served with cold roast turkey slices with a chiffonade of prosciutto. This became a terrific main dish salad for us...
Farmers Market Salad, Pg. 42
This is the kind of salad one uses as inspiration in order to use up all the vegetable tidbits in the fridge before market day, at least that's what I do most of the time. The first time I made it (7.24.12) I used the Italian Herb Vinaigrette on page 246 but last night I dressed the vegetables with the Creamy Italian Dressing on page 255. Both salads were tasty and satisfying.
1. The first salad included Boston lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, new Spring torpedo onions, and crumbled goat cheese. Croutons were made from pieces of crusty Italian bread. Quartered hard boiled eggs are optional so I omitted them. Dressed with the herb vinaigrette and served with cold roast pork it was a fine main dish salad.
2. Last night's salad consisted simply of Romaine, daikon radish leaves, arugula, and a few baby spinach leaves. It accompanied lobster rolls from Fish Without A Doubt so kept I kept the ingredients to a minimum. The creamy Italian dressing was a perfect fit.
Spicy Thai Steak and Napa Cabbage(Chinese Leaf) Salad, p99
A very tasty main dish salad, with a bit of a kick and healthy to boot. My kind of dinner!
I used sirloin steak, which I cooked on the griddle to medium-rare. For the salad, I used chinese leaf (no napa here), which is combined with shredded carrot, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, cilantro and mint. The dressing is lime, sugar, fish sauce and red pepper flakes.
We really enjoyed this one. And it's healthy, which is very much a priority in this house post-France, and pre-beach holiday in September! Next time, I'd try adding basil as well, as suggested in the note.
Spicy Thai Steak and Napa Cabbage Salad, page 99.
Well, my library copy goes back tomorrow, so last night I figured it was time to stop gazing and make something. I've been much more focused on Planet Barbecue this month.
I was eager to do an experiment with steak, cooking one half straight from the fridge, and one half after sitting at room temperature for 30 minutes. After the taste test, the steak went into this salad. Very bright, easy, and quick. I thought it could have used another dimension. The dressing tasted like fish sauce and lime, which is essentially what it is, and they are two flavors that I like, but I would have liked a bit more complexity. Loved the combination of vegetables, and their finely chopped texture makes it easy to taste the flavors in each bite. I'll play with the dressing a bit, and use this salad again, perhaps as a base for chicken, or even fish.
re: blue room
I was trying to decide if I should go back to that thread and report. But I'll talk here, since you asked. The refrigerated piece took longer to cook by a couple minutes, going by the finger pressure test and the outside appearance. Even so, when they both seemed equally cooked by those measures, the innermost part of the refrigerated steak was still blue/raw, whereas the room temp steak was perfectly rare. We think we preferred the taste/texture of the room temp steak, but that is a tough call. It's subjective, and the cold steak was certainly underdone.
The big argument seems to be about the bacteria that might congregate in that 30 minutes it takes to come close to room temp. I thought that if I couldn't tell the difference, or if the cold one was better, why take any chances. But since I preferred the even cooking, and quite possibly the taste, of the room temp steak, we'll continue to take the (probably minuscule) chance of a few extra microorganisms.
PS, I think this photo might have been from the cold steak, and some of the less raw slices to boot. A bit too rare for me, even though I do like steak between rare and medium rare.
Provencal Chicken Salad with Roasted Peppers and Artichokes, p. 91
This is a very nice main dish salad, with a variety of flavorful ingredients and plenty of umami. Roasted red pepper, quartered canned artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, French green olives, chicken, parsley (which I didn't have), and a dressing of red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, dried oregano, olive oil, and S+P, are all served over greens.
I made a few tweaks. She has you begin by rehydrating sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water, but I skipped that step because the ones I buy in bulk at my local market are quite moist and don't really need it. The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts to be seasoned and grilled or sauteed, then sliced; but instead I used boneless skinless thighs, which I slathered on both sides with some of the dressing and roasted in the oven, then cubed. For the dressing, she uses a typical 1:3 vinegar-to-oil ratio, but I did 1:2 both in order to reduce the fat a bit and because I like a more acidic vinaigrette. That change also made the mustard flavor stronger, which is fine with me!
For the greens, I used a combo of baby wild arugula, baby spinach, and mixed baby lettuces. I plated it as directed, with the dressed chicken, etc. atop the greens, but ended up tossing it together before eating to distribute the dressing through the greens. I packed the remainder up on its own and will mix with more fresh greens when I have it for other meals on upcoming days. Aside from the parsley I was missing, I can see a number of fresh herbs working well as bright additions here - thyme, tarragon, marjoram, in addition to, or fresh oregano in place of the dried oregano in the dressing.
re: Caitlin McGrath
Caitlin, I think you remedied the only element of this recipe that didn't work for me. I made/assembled the components in advance to take for a cottage dinner. It was perfect for that...lots of fresh flavor and color and an attractive presentationon a big platter. I used farmers market green beans, and more than recipe suggested because they were so beautiful. The dressing didn't really stand up, and I wondered if it was the bean surplus. Next time I will amp up the acid, and there will certainly be a next time.
Leafy Green Salad with Lemon-Basil Goat Cheese, page 60
This is a fairly straight forward salad with a goat cheese twist. The recipe instructs you to make goat cheese rounds and then marinate in a mixture of grated lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt. The dressing is a simple balsamic-olive oil mix at about 1:3 ratio. Though the recipe calls for arugula or mixed baby greens, I used baby spinach from a local farm.
The salad is dressed with the balsamic mixture and then the goat cheese is put on the plate with any lemon zest marinade that wasn't absorbed by the cheese.
This cheese preparation reminded me of the Ottolenghi method of marinating mozzarella cheese. It is a way of taking a somewhat bland cheese and amping up the flavors.
The recipe calls for 2 oz of cheese per salad which is too much for us. In the future I will only prepare one ounce per person since this is what we actually ate. I didn't serve with bread.
In no way was this revolutionary, but it was a nice accompaniment to our dinner of pan-fried pork chops and zucchini.