Friday, August 19, 2011

Salads Galore!!

With all the delicious veggies I had, Hoag and I really tried to break out of the traditional Italian salad and dressings and see how creative we could get.  Here are a few of our favorites.  I'll certainly work on getting the recipes up for them but they're almost self explanatory! Enjoy!!

Crab and mango salad with a honey lemon vinaigrette.  This is a great refreshing salad with a little oomph.  The crab salad is simply jumbo lump crap meat, mangos, a little red peppers, onion and cilantro mixed in with 2 Tbsp of mayo.  Put that decadent concoction on a bed of greens with some avacado to boot and top with a quick mix of lemon juice, honey, S&P and a little evoo.  Enjoy a quick little escape to the coast!!

From there we mix it up big time with a warmer deeper flavor profile.  For this salad for a crisper summer night you take your bed of greens and drizzle with just a little evoo and S&P.  Brown up some bacon in a skillet ( normally I'd encourage you to bake it off in a broiler pan to reduce the fat content but we need all those delicious drippings.. mmmmmm)  Chop up your browned bacon and add that to your greens along with your quick pickled beets and a poached egg (don't forget a splash of vinegar if your eggs aren't straight from the hen! ) Add a little avocado and  a little red onion to keep the flavors bright.  Now go back to the sinful bacon drippings, add half a shallot and one clove minced garlic and simmer.  Once that becomes fragrant whisk in some balsamic vinegar ( you can use what your beets were pickled in if you have extra) and reduce just for a few minutes until slightly thickened.  Pour over entire salad and enjoy!!
Salad Nicoise? Oui, S'il vous plait! This traditional french salad carries a pretty heavy reputation for such a simple throw together.  Don't be intimidated by Julia Child's three page recipe like I was.  Take this quick and easy tour down the coast of France and you'll be Oui Ouing with the best of them.  (p.s. I'm a big fan of doing things in one pot. Some people don't like their flavors to mix so use as many pans as you see fit. ) Lay out a bed of greens and sprinkle with a little EVOO and S&P. In one small pot at two or three eggs, cover with water and bring to a boil. As soon as its boiling, turn off heat, cover pot and let cook for ten minutes.  Rinse eggs under cool water and peel.  In the meantime, cut up three red potatoes cover with water and bring to a boil.  When almost fork tender, throw in a handful of hericot verts or snapped green beans and finish off both potatoes and beans for about three minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Slice up a tomato, bust out a can of your favorite white chunk tuna and get ready to assemble.  For presentation purposes I always put this salad together like above but it involves a lot of cutting afterwards.  You do what works with your time frame.  For the dressing mix together half lemons juice, tspn of Dijon mustard, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar or white balsamic (different flavors totally but both work good) S&P and a shallot.  Stream in EVOO until desired consistency and a pinch of sugar for good luck.  Enjoy!

And finally, this traditional summer salad that everyone can enjoy.  This would be amazing over spinach but I use what I have and I usually have romaine.  For a little twist I sprinkled my chicken with smoked paprika and a little ground clove.  Strange combination but I'm always up for an adventure.  Grill your chicken breast until done and let rest.  Meanwhile, toast up some chopped up almonds in a pan until just fragrant.  Slice up half a red onion, a few strawberries ( any berries would be great on this) and pile on your plate . For the dressing we go back to the lemon juice, honey, a little white wine vinegar, S&P and a stream of EVOO until it tastes just right to you.  If you're feeling really naughty some goat cheese or Feta on this salad would be Divine. 

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