Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Couple of Summer Salads to Consider

I'm poking around the garden looking for some things to use in our salads.

      Summer is a great time for salads because there are so many fresh vegetables in season and because you can usually avoid a lot of hot food, especially this summer when most of the country is experiencing the worst heat wave in thirty years.

      A couple of weeks ago, we were at Lisa’s for dinner and she served this salad:

Lisa’s Golden Beet & Squash Salad

      (I’m guessing a little on the amounts of the ingredients – you can adjust to your taste)

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

  2 yellow squash (quarter and then slice the squash in half inch pieces)
  2 – 3 golden beets (either quarter and then slice in quarter inch pieces or dice about ¼ - ½ inch)

Place the squash and beets in a pan.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and drizzle some olive oil over the vegetables.  Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.  Check for fork
tenderness and either leave in the oven for a few more minutes or take them out.

Tear up some green leaf lettuce and place on salad dishes (this serves 4 – 6).  Lisa used Laubenstein Farm lettuce, which is local, but any green leaf that you like will work.

Spoon the vegetables on to the lettuce.  Sprinkle some feta cheese and walnuts on top.

Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette or simple vinaigrette  (2/3 olive oil to 1/3 balsamic vinegar or other vinegar whisked together is just fine).

This can be garnished with fresh nasturtiums, which are edible.

Quick Potato Salad

      The quickest potato salad is usually cold and involves mayonnaise as a major binding component.  Unless I’ve made it myself (and it takes longer than Martha, Rachel, or Emeril will let on), I don’t like mayonnaise.  This version is creamier and it doesn’t involve bacon so it’s good for guests with specific diets.  However, most potato salads taste better with about 3 – 6 bacon slices, sautéed until crisp, and chopped up.

  3 lbs new potatoes (either the small red or the small gold)
  ½ cup of chicken or beef broth (I used beef broth which gave it a little body)
  ½ cup of heavy (whipping) cream
  2 cloves of garlic mashed with 1 tsp of salt
  4 – 6 scallions, the green parts only, chopped
  3 celery ribs, finely diced

Boil the potatoes for about 10 – 15 minutes, checking for fork tenderness.  Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle.  While warm, you can peel the potatoes pretty easily.  Place in a bowl and pour the broth and cream over the potatoes and mix with your hands.  Stir in the garlic salt, scallions, and celery.  Leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

  5 TBSP olive oil
  ¼ cup of white vinegar
  ¼ cup of mustard (I used Dijon, but that can be strong)
  1 tsp salt
  1 ½ tsp of pepper (1 tsp if freshly ground)

Mix the vinegar, mustard, s & p together.  Whisk in the oil slowly so that it emulsifies.  That’s the classic professional model.  OR, pour the ingredients into a jar, tighten the lid on it, and shake until blended.  (Either method works for a vinaigrette dressing.  However, if you’re planning to pour the vinaigrette over a salad and use it later, the first method will not separate, but the second method eventually will).  Pour the dressing over the potatoes and fold it in with a spatula or mix with your hands.

Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley, or chives, or basil, or sprinkle with sweet paprika or citrus zest.  (Penzey’s Herbes de Provence or Sunny Paris spice mixes are excellent garnishes for pretty much anything.  Check out  We’re not being paid for this endorsement.  They are the best, moderately priced spices on the market).

No comments: