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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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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: smtucker

      Leafy Green Salad with Lemon-Basil Goat Cheese, p. 60

      I also made this recipe a few weeks back. I really loved the way the marinade played against the taste of the goat cheese.

    2. 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.

      1 Reply
      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        6 Replies
        1. re: greedygirl

          I googled Chinese leaf, and every image and description shows that in fact, Chinese leaf = napa cabbage. Just a case of different places, different names.

          See Cook's Thesaurus: http://www.foodsubs.com/Cabbage.html#...

          1. re: greedygirl

            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.

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              Ooh, you like it rare!
              And the taste test? How did it go? I remember the discussion.

              1. 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.

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  Aha! A real test, a real result -- I'm convinced. Bring to room temp and proceed.

          2. 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.

            1. 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...

              1. 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.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gio

                  This sounds like a version of coronation chicken to me. Very appropriate in this olympic Jubilee year!

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    That's exactly what I thought too...! Tasted great.

                2. 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.

                  1 Reply
                  1. 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.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      I whisked another spoonful of tahini into the remaining dressing and liked it better, so I definitely recommend doubling the tahini.

                    2. 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.

                      1. 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.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          I made this as written, apart from I also used leftover chicken, barbecued. We loved the peanutty dressing and it made a great, easy dinner with a bottle of Pinot noir. I have half of the dressing left over. I think it would go equally well with steak.

                        2. 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...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            How are you liking the Divertimenti book, Gio. That salad sounds truly t'riff, and a bit like one that Camilla Schniedeman makes with nectarines, rocket and parma ham, which I recommend.

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              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.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                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.

                              2. re: Gio

                                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.

                              3. "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.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: blue room

                                  Raspberry vinegar is really over at our place. Is anyone else still keen?

                                  1. re: painperdu

                                    I only just discovered (good) raspberry vinegar! Before it was over, how did you like it best?

                                    1. re: blue room

                                      As you used it in this recipe...to flavour chicken in a sauce or dressing. I think I am just not keen on sweet meat unless it has a whole lot of punch, as in Thai or Chinese dishes.

                                2. I know it is a little late, but I finally got my own copy of Raising the Salad Bar. I hope to be able to add to these threads as I make my way through everyone else's recommendations.

                                  1. 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.

                                    1. BLT Chicken Salad with Ranch Dressing, Pg. 78

                                      This was quite a flavorful hefty but light tasting main dish salad. I omitted a couple of ingredients but supplanted with additions of my own: no frisee, and no garlic croutons; included sliced radishes, and blanched sugar snap peas. I used thighs that were quickly stir-fried not stove-top grilled breasts, and farm fresh optional iceberg not romaine.

                                      Make the dressing first. I doubled the recipe.
                                      In a bowl combine buttermilk, mayo, yogurt, minced garlic, apple cider vinegar. Whisk in olive oil, season with S & P, chopped chives. Cover bowl and pop into the fridge till needed.

                                      The salad consisted of lettuce, crisp bacon, sliced avocado, quartered tomatoes, my 2 additions, and the chicken sliced into strips. According to the recipe all the components are arranged on a platter with the dressing served on the side. For us I simply put everything into a large salad bowl and drizzled the dressing over.

                                      This was delicious! So many flavors each enhanced by the tangy dressing. There is dressing left to use as a sauce for salmon that we're having tonight. Definitely deserves a revisit. I will say, though I thought the ranch dressing was a bit runny so in future I'll cut back on the buttermilk.

                                      1. Seared Salmon with Baby Greens and Mango Salsa Vinaigrette, Pg. 118

                                        We're Having a Heat Wave. We're having a heat wave and this salad made a terrific hot Summer's evening meal. Summertime screams seafood to me and the tender juicy salmon atop a salad bed of spicy, sweet, tart, refreshing mango salsa hit the spot.

                                        Made the salsa first: red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, EVOO, red onion, jalapeño, garlic, ground cumin, mango, tomato, S & P, cilantro. Fascinating combination, especially the inclusion of cumin which we love.

                                        For the salad I used: baby beet and radish greens, iceberg, arugula, cilantro, parsley. Not wanting to turn on the oven G pan seared the salmon fillets completely on stove top instead of finishing in the oven.

                                        The salmon sits on a bed of greens with the salsa ladled over all. I included a few blanched sugar snap peas and sliced radishes as a "garnish". Since neither of us like to eat very much when the weather is hot we're enjoying these salad main dish meals. They're light, refreshing, delicious and perfect for this kind of weather.

                                        1. Golden Fried Tomatoes with Lobster Salad [and Avocado Puree], Pg. 126

                                          Another winner of a main dish salad for a fine Summer's eve. Sweet succulent steamed lobster chunks atop a crunchy spicy fried tomato slice, atop a green tossed salad instead of the avocado puree.

                                          I used Italian spiced panko and simply dredged the tomato slices in them without the egg and flour step. That worked very well w/o the panko getting soggy. G wasn't too keen on the avocado puree so I simply made a salad w shredded Romaine, sliced radishes, shaved carrot and minced scallions. This was dressed with a simple red wine vinaigrette. A pleasant remoulade-type dressing for the lobster consists of: finely diced celery, small amount of mayo, chopped chives, dash of ketchup, (+ Tabasco), S & P... I included minced parsley.

                                          I loved the fried tomato and will have to remember this as a future side dish when the tomatoes are really flooding the farm stand. It was a departure from fried green tomatoes that we really enjoyed. As for the lobster... what can one say? I could eat nothing else for the rest on my life. Well OK,.. maybe a slice or two of eggplant parmigiano every now and then.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Gio

                                            That sounds simply lovely, Gio. I'm not the biggest fan of avocado, but sounds like I could made an exception in this case. And the Jersey tomatoes have been exceptional this year. I feel as though I've been living on Caprese salad. Time to expand my horizons.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              We've been living on all types of salads and sandwiches this Summer, Joan. The hot and humid weather seems to warrant lighter meals. While I would have preferred avocado I was quite happy with the Romaine salad. The two dressings played well together since the lobster was dunked into the remoulade and not dressed with the vinaigrette. It was actually the tomato that caught my attention, though, and I tried to get a bit of it on each piece of lobster on my fork.

                                          2. [Grilled Shrimp] Salad with Watermelon, Herbs, and Feta Cheese, Pg. 120

                                            I only made the watermelon salad component of this recipe because I was intent on making a garlicky chicken recipe from The New Spanish Table. And, I must say the two went together very well. As for this salad, I had never had watermelon as a salad so was happy to use this for a start. No adjustments or alterations but I only had fresh parsley and not dill or mint so it became a single Herb not Herbs.

                                            Chunks of watermelon. tomatoes, and cucumber are sliced, combined with Kalamata olives, and herbs in a salad bowl, then set aside while other meal preparations are completed. When ready to serve drain whatever liquid has accmulated in the bottom of the salad bowl. Whisk the dressing which consists of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, olive oil, S & P. Pour over the salad, toss gently to coat everything, add feta cubes. Add either baby arugular or micro-greens. I had neither so used the tips of a farm fresh head of red leaf lettuce. Toss again and serve.

                                            I loved the taste of this salad: salty, mildly sweet, refreshing, Great introduction to watermelon salad. Now I'll have to search for other versions.

                                            16 Replies
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              There's a very good one in Nigella's "Forever Summer." Similar, but contains very thinly sliced red onion, lime juice instead of lemon juice and vinegar, and just mint and parsley. She doesn't specify the kind of olives, but I usually use oil-cured Greek since more often than not that's what I have on hand. Her version has become a summer staple for me. Guess it is I who should be expanding my horizons.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                The addition of red onion and lime juice sound quite nice. Thanks, Joan. I have Nigella's "How To Eat", not "Forever Summer" but I did find the recipe posted by her at her web site:


                                                No tomatoes I see. Looks like a good recipe to try next.

                                                Here are others I've found from my EYB COTM listing:
                                                >Spicy watermelon salad, Bistro Cooking At Home
                                                >Tipsy watermelon salad from Bon Appetit, Y'All - w crème de cassis
                                                >Watermelon salad with feta and black olives from Radically Simple
                                                >Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad from The 150 Best American Recipes

                                                And others from Gourmet Today and the NYT Essentials. Not to mention those in non-COTM books. Guess there's more than I'll ever need...

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Ha! Did the same thing a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for a watermelon salad to take to a friend's house in CT. Thought the "Bistro Cooking at Home" one especially interesting would have loved to try it with the grilled pork loin as written. Both Breadcrumbs and L.Nightshade had very positive reviews of it when the book was COTM. Unfortunately, CT is a no-pork home so I just went with the tried and true.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    There's also one in Ottolenghi's Plenty that I made the other day. And I first came across the watermelon and feta combo in Nigel Slater's Marie Claire Cookbook! That tipsy watermelon salad from Bon Appetit, Y'All is lethal!

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Wow! I hadn't looked that Bon Appetit one up. Looks almost as lethal as the Watermelon Margarita from "Frank Stitt’s Southern Table," which knocked the socks off some guests who are known to outlast everyone else at the local pub.

                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        GG -Thanks for mentioning the BAYA salad. I remember your review of it. I did see the Ottolenghi salad and if I have enough watermelon I'll make it. Tomorrow I'll have G get some vodka and cassis for the tipsy one. We're basically gin drinkers here so hardly ever have those in the cabinet. I can remember the days of vodka spiked watermelon but never made it myself.

                                                        As for Joan's Margarita, I'm almost afraid to make it...LOL

                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                        Another I've made a lot is this one with watercress, cucumber, scallions, and cilantro, which works well alongside Asian-ish main dishes.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          Almost a year after the fact, I came to this thread looking for something else and see that I neglected to include the link to the recipe I was recommending. D'oh! Anyway, this one's a nice alternative to the Mediterranean-leaning watermelon salads.


                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                      [Grilled] Shrimp Salad with Watermelon, Herbs, and Feta, p. 120

                                                      As it happens, I was on my way to this thread to report on this recipe, only to see that Gio beat me to it. I did use the shrimp, and must say that it makes a just lovely summer meal, now that watermelon is both sweet and flavorful and we're finally starting to get really good tomatoes in my neck of the woods. (I always await the availability of the dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes with great anticipation, and they made their first appearance at the farmers' market last weekend.)

                                                      I used a lesser amount of shrimp (.75 lbs rather than 1.25 lbs) in order to make this mostly a big bowl of produce. Two T. of the dressing is stirred into the peeled shrimp, which are left to marinate for 10 minutes before being grilled or cooked in a grill pan, or in my case simply sautéed in a skillet. Otherwise the prep is as Gio outlines. For the herbs, I used parsley, dill, and tarragon in place of mint. I also used more garlic and herbs than called for. I cooked the shrimp, then set aside half and mixed them up with the remaining ingredients the next day for a second big bowlful of salad, each making a delightful meal accompanied by chilled dry rose.

                                                      I've enjoyed various savory watermelon salads before, but this is the first I've had that included tomatoes. I've had a hard time wrapping my head around the combo in the past, but this time I thought, given how terrific Dorie Greenspan's strawberry and tomato salad with fresh mozzarella is, why not watermelon and tomato? And I must say, this was really a quite wonderful combo of sweet, salty, tangy, and savory.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Well the salad really does sound very tasty with shrimp, Caitlin, I'll have to try that when next we get the FL Gulf wild shrimp. Thanks for your report!

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          It really does make a nice main-dish salad with the shrimp, and I'm lucky in that the fish counter at the market where I most often shop always has various sizes of wild Gulf shrimp available. I meant to mention in my report above that I included baby arugula.

                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          This sounds fantastic and I happen to have most of the ingredients on hand. Would you or Gio mind giving rough proportions for the dressing and other ingredients? Thank you!

                                                          1. re: mebby

                                                            For 4 - 6 servings you need:
                                                            1 1/2 lbs. shrimp
                                                            3 tomatoes
                                                            2 med cucumbers 1" chunks
                                                            3 cups watermelon chunks
                                                            1/2 cup Kalamatas in 1/4s
                                                            1 tbsp each dill, mint, parsley
                                                            1/2 lb. feta in 1" cubes
                                                            1 tbsp lemon jc
                                                            1 tbsp vinegar
                                                            1/2 tsp garlic minced
                                                            6 tbsp EVOO
                                                            S & P

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Thank you! I think I may take a cue from you and make the Spanish garlic shrimp alongside this salad in shrimpless form. I'm dining solo tonight and it sounds like a nice indulgent meal for one.

                                                              1. re: mebby

                                                                The dressing proportions called for are actually 3 T lemon juice, 1 T red wine vinegar, 6 T olive oil. Instead of the 1/2" chunks of feta called for, I cut it a bit smaller, and thought it worked well that way.

                                                      2. Arugula, Celery, and Date Salad with [White] Balsamic Vinaigrette, Pg. 66

                                                        We've been getting quite a lot of use from this little book. Our salads will never be boring. This one reminded me of Ottolenghi's salad with spinach and dates, and since I had both baby arugula and baby spinach in the fridge I used a half and half combination of them. Also, no more white balsamic so used regular red balsamic vinegar.

                                                        The salad actually does consist of just the greens, chopped celery - I used the inner sweet and tender stalks - and sliced dried dates. The dressing is simplicity itself: Olive oil, vinegar, S & P. Neat and tidy and exploding with flavor it was a good foil for Shrimp Creole from Bon Appetit, Y'All by VA Willis.

                                                        1. Bibb, Watercress and Endive Salad with Pears, Walnuts and Pomegranate Seeds (page 57)

                                                          I was looking for a substantial second-course salad to serve after a first course of lobster risotto and this sounded just perfect for the occasion and for the season.

                                                          I used the optional Boston, instead of bibb, lettuce; the optional Asian pear; the Raspberry Vinaigrette (instead of the Basic Vinaigrette); and served the crumbled Gorgonzola on the side since one of the guests is not a blue-cheese fan (how can anyone NOT be a blue-cheese fan?!?).

                                                          The vinaigrette is comprised of raspberry vinegar; fresh orange juice; maple syrup, honey, or sugar (I used maple syrup); chopped shallot or red onion (had the latter, not the former, on hand); olive or canola oil or a combination of the two (I used all olive); and salt.

                                                          The greens are tossed with dressing and laid out on a platter. They’re topped with sliced pears and pomegranate seeds, then toasted, chopped walnuts and the cheese. A bit more vinaigrette is drizzled over all before serving.

                                                          This was a big hit. Some guests were spreading the cheese on baguette slices rather than adding it to the salad. And one guests was drizzling the vinaigrette on the bread. I just loved the thinly-sliced Asian pear with this salad because it was so crisp and juicy. Really sorry there’s no photo; the presentation was lovely, and screamed “Autumn.”

                                                          1. Seared Tuna Dalade Niçoise
                                                            page 124

                                                            Oh dear. I assumed someone had already reviewed this salad and taken pictures. Too late for the picture part, I am afraid.

                                                            I freelanced this recipe a lot. In fact, the salad part I ignored completely. I had some beautifully seared tuna leftover from last night's dinner and wanted to make a Niçoise salad with a lemon dressing. The dressing is quite simple. Lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon, dried herbs, minced garlic and olive oil. Instead of the 2tbl of vinegar and 2 tsp of lemon juice, I switched them around. I used fresh herbs from the garden: basil, chives, and Greek oregano.

                                                            For the salad, we used Boston lettuce, blanched haricot verts, local asparagus, Campari tomatoes, cucumber, pickled shallots, a hard boiled egg, and of course, the tuna. Four slices of thinly sliced tuna.

                                                            This salad is a reminder that the growing season is coming. Can't wait until all the vegetables on the plate are local!