CATEGORIES: Baking, Breakfast, Beef, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, Pork, Ramen, Vegetarian

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Salads

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Chicken Salad Contessa

Ingredients

2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (1 1/2 pounds)

Good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup walnuts halves

1/2 cup good mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided

1 cup green grapes, cut in 1/2

Lettuce leaves, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool.

When the chicken is cool, remove meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4-inch dice.

Meanwhile, place the pecans and walnuts on a separate sheet pan and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.

For the dressing, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold in half the chopped tarragon leaves.

Place the diced chicken in a bowl, add the pecans, walnuts and grapes. Pour the dressing over the chicken and toss well. Sprinkle the remaining chopped tarragon leaves on top, and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.

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Warm Kale Salad with Brown Butter Pine Nuts, Smoked Bacon, Golden Raisins and Parmesan

  • 2 large bunches of kale, thoroughly washed and dried

  • Olive oil, as needed

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1/4 cup water

  • A few knobs of butter

  • A handful of pine nuts

  • 4 strips of thick-cut smoky bacon

  • A handful of golden raisins

  • 1 lemon

  • Parmesan cheese, broken by hand into small chunks, to taste

Remove the thick stems from each leaf of kale, and cut the leaves into large but manageable pieces, about 2-3 inches long.

In a pan over high heat with olive oil, cook kale until lightly softened and bright green, but still crunchy.  Salt to taste.  Transfer cooked kale to a bowl and allow to cool. (You’ll want to cook the kale in small batches to avoid crowding, and use fresh oil for each new batch.  Wipe the pan between each batch to avoid flavoring your kale with burnt oil.)

Over low heat, sweat the shallots with olive oil until translucent.  Season with a bit of salt. Cover the shallots with the wine and water.  Bring to a boil and then immediately turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Reduce until the liquid has almost but not quite evaporated. Pour the shallots over the cooked kale and allow to cool.

For the pine nuts, place a good amount of butter in a pan over medium-high heat. When the butter becomes frothy, add the pine nuts. Cook as though this were a risotto, stirring constantly. This technique mimics a shallow fry and cooks the pine nuts evenly. Once they have become almost golden, transfer to a paper towel-lined dish to drain and cool. They will continue cooking from the residual heat, so be sure to pull them off earlier than you might initially think. Add to kale.

Cut the bacon into bite size pieces. Slowly render over low heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined dish to drain. Add to kale.

Add golden raisins and lemon juice to taste to kale, and toss all to combine.

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Spinach Salad with Lentils and Crispy Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 11 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup green lentils (preferably De Puy variety)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sea salt

Directions

Add the lentils to a pot and cover with a couple inches water and a good pinch or two of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender but not mushy, adding more water if necessary, about 30 minutes. Season to taste as they cook. Drain, then add 1/2 the olive oil into the pot and cook the garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then return the lentils to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes until warmed through. Stir in parsley and remaining oil.

In the meantime, lightly pack the goat cheese into a 1/3 cup measure to divide the cheese into rounds, then press them gently flat into patties. Spread the flour on a small plate, the egg on another, and the panko or breadcrumbs on a third. Dredge the goat cheese in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs to coat on all sides, then set aside.

While the lentils are warming with the garlic, heat the neutral oil in a large skillet until extremely hot, close to smoking. Add a goat cheese round; it should sizzle and turn golden within a couple minutes. Repeat with remaining goat cheese rounds, cooking both sides until golden and crisp, removing to drain on paper towels after cooking. Heap the lentils and spinach on plates, top with the goat cheese, and finish with drizzled olive oil and sprinkled sea salt.

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Fattoush with Greens, Sumac and Feta Cheese

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Fattoush with Greens, Sumac and Feta Cheese

Note:  This is a great bread salad combo, and substitutions should be freely used and explored: different kinds of toasted bread (I've used sourdough, and it worked fine); different herbs; different kinds of onions (like leeks or shallots); et cetera.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 pita breads, split and toasted
  • 2 really fresh big beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound French sheep's milk feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole basil leaves

Break the toasted pita into shards and place at the bottom of a serving bowl. Dice the tomatoes and layer over the bread shards with a pinch of salt to start pulling out the juice.

Peel and dice the cucumber and add on top of the tomatoes. Dice the radishes and slice the scallions thinly and add to the bowl. Cut the romaine in half, core, and then cut into fat 1 1/2- to 2-inch ribbons. Sprinkle the sumac over everything.

To make the dressing crush the clove of garlic with the sea salt, add the vinegar, then whisk in the olive oil. Dress the salad and toss. Let it all sit so the flavors meld for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese, fold in the basil, and serve.

This is a great salad for advance preparation, as it really just gets better the longer it marinates. We even like the leftovers the next morning for breakfast.

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Crab and Avocado Salad

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Crab and Avocado Salad

SERVES 4, WITH EXTRA CRAB AND DRESSING LEMON MUSTARD DRESSING

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons (60g) minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

SALAD

  • 2 pounds (900g) fresh cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells
  • 5 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • 4 small, tender celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons (75ml) sour cream
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 large avocado

1 To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, honey, and salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Keep the dressing in the fridge for up to 1 week. You’ll have about 1 ¼ cups (300ml).

2 Combine the crabmeat, scallions, celery, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, and a few pinches of salt and pepper in a bowl. Gently toss the ingredients with your fingers until just combined (leave a few larger lumps of crabmeat). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

3 The day of: To assemble the salad, arrange a bed of lettuce on a serving platter. Measure out ⅓ cup (80ml) of the dressing, saving the rest for green beans later this week. Whisk in the tarragon and drizzle about two-thirds of the dressing over the lettuce. Heap 2 cups (250g) of the crab in the center of the lettuce and refrigerate the rest for crab toasties. Slice the avocado thinly and arrange around the edges of the salad. Drizzle the avocado with a little more dressing and grind some pepper over everything before serving.

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Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan

SERVES 4 AS A SIDE FOR 2 DINNERS, PLUS LEFTOVERS

  • 4 cups (720g) uncooked farro
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (450g) assorted mushrooms (use your favorites), trimmed and wiped clean
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons (110ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces (85g) Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup (10g) loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Heat the oven to 450 ° F (230 ° C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 Put the farro in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover. Add several big pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer until it’s tender but still has some bite, 20 to 25 minutes.

3 Cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces and combine them in a large bowl with the thyme and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until crisp around the edges and tender, about 20 minutes. Let the mushrooms cool slightly on the baking sheet.

4 Meanwhile, drain the farro and spread it out on another baking sheet to cool.

5 Chop the Parmesan until it’s pebbly (it should look like small Grape-Nuts)— you want about 1/2 cup (85g). Coarsely chop the parsley.

6 Combine half of the farro with the mushrooms in a large bowl. Reserve the remaining farro for the grain bowls. Add the lemon juice, the remaining 1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil, the Parmesan, and parsley. Season with pepper and fold gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep the salad in the fridge for up to 5 days.

7 The day of: Reheat the farro salad gently in the microwave for about a minute, or let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Couscous Salad with Zucchini, Pistachios, and Feta

SERVES 4, PLUS EXTRA FOR LUNCHES

  • About 3 cups (620g) cooked and dressed couscous
  • 2 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch (3mm) dice
  • 1/2 cup (60g) chopped toasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 cup (75g) crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup (40g) uncooked quinoa, toasted in a pan (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon za’atar

1 Fold together the couscous, zucchini, pistachios, preserved lemon, and thyme in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice and olive oil if needed. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

2 The day of: Spoon the couscous into a serving dish, and sprinkle with the feta, quinoa, and za’atar.

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Grain Salad with Asparagus, Baby Turnips, Feta, and Preserved Lemon Dressing

SERVES 4 FOR DINNER, PLUS LUNCHES

PRESERVED LEMON DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons charmoula (from Chicken Cutlets)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper

SALAD

  • Salt
  • 1 cup (180g) soft (or hard) wheat berries
  • 1 cup (185g) jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup (85g) quinoa, rinsed
  • 8 ounces (225g) sautéed thinly sliced asparagus
  • 8 baby turnips, scrubbed and cut into small wedges
  • Leftover chicken or steak, cut into small pieces (you’ll want a cup or two)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) crumbled feta

1 To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients plus lots of freshly ground pepper in a mason jar. Cover the jar and shake it like a madman! Taste and adjust the seasoning. Store in the fridge until later in the week.

2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the wheat berries and cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes. Stir in the rice, then 5 minutes later, stir in the quinoa. Cook the grains until they’re tender but not soft, about 5 minutes more. Drain and let cool. Store in the fridge for later in the week.

3 The day of: Get out a big bowl and mix together the cooked grains, asparagus, turnips, and chicken or steak. Give the dressing a good shake to re-emulsify it, then pour half of it over the grains. Fold together. Taste the salad, and add more dressing as you see fit. Top with feta.

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Farro & Fresh Mozzarella Salad with Arugula Walnut Pesto

Serves 4 to 6

For the pesto:

  • cups arugula, washed and dried
  • teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • cup Manchego cheese, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the salad

  • cups cooked farro
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
  1. With the exception of the olive oil combine all the pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse it a few times to form a paste.
  2. With the processor running drizzle in a 1/4 cup of oil and blend. If it seems wet enough do not add more oil but if it seems dry add a teaspoon or two.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. In a mixing bowl combine the farro with half the pesto and mix it to combine. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes, lemon juice, chives, and mozzarella. Toss the salad to combine and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary or add more pesto if you think it needs it. Serve.

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Stone Fruit & Burrata Salad

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Stone Fruit & Burrata Salad

Ingredients 

  • 1 peach
  • 1 nectarine
  • 2 plums or pluots
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 beets, peeled, cooked and sliced
  • 1 ball burrata
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Clean and slice the peaches, nectarines, plums, and beets and set aside.
  2. Arrange the arugula in a large bowl and pile the cut fruit on top of the greens.
  3. Slice the beets and add them on top of the salad.
  4. Carefully cut the burrata in half, and gently pull small pieces off and place them over the salad.
  5. Whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve as needed. 

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Thai Chicken Salad

Ingredients 
Grilled Thai Chicken:
-¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
-3 tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp lime juice (reserve zest for dressing)
-1 tbsp turmeric
-2 tbsp pure sesame oil
-6-8 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tsp ginger, minced
-2 tsp white pepper
-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (around 1.5 lbs chicken)

Spicy Basil & Coconut Dressing:
-¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
-2 tsp lime juice
-1 tbsp lime zest
-2 tsp ginger, minced
-2 tsp basil, minced
-½ tbsp fish sauce (optional)
-2-4 birds eye chilies, thinly sliced (or use any hot pepper, adjusting quantity to taste)
-drizzle of pure sesame oil
-pinch salt & sugar

Charred Sugar Snap Pea & Orange Salad:
-1 naval orange
-½ lb sugar snap peas
-2 tsp pure sesame oil
-1 tsp torn mint leaves
-salt & pepper

Method
1. Combine marinade ingredients for grilled chicken in a medium mixing bowl. Place chicken in a shallow dish and coat completely with marinade. Place in refrigerator to marinate while preparing dressing and salad. (Please, be careful when handling this marinade as it contains turmeric, which will leave behind a yellow stain on plastic Tupperware, your manicure, kitchen towels, etc.)
2. Combine dressing ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until the dressing has thickened, 3-5 minutes. Transfer dressing to a bowl or container to cool while preparing salad.
3. Take chicken out of refrigerator and heat lightly oiled grill pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Grill chicken, turning over once, until just cooked through, 14 to 16 minutes total. While chicken grills, prepare the salad.
4. Using a sharp knife, peel the orange taking care to remove the bitter white pith. Halve the orange lengthwise and slice it crosswise 1/8 inch thick. Transfer slices to a medium bowl.
5. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tsp. sesame oil and add the sugar snap peas in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until nicely charred, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer peas to the bowl of orange slices and season lightly with salt and cracked black pepper. Sprinkle with torn mint leaves and toss lightly.
6. Transfer grilled chicken to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch slices. Divide salad onto four plates and drizzle with dressing. Top the salad with chicken slices and garnish if desired. Enjoy immediately, or save for lunch. (Just let the chicken cool first, it'll keep for up to three days.)

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Farro Spoon Salad with Arugula

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup frozen English peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably sheep’s-milk feta
  • 1/4 cup green olives, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces baby arugula

Instructions:

1. In a large saucepan set over high heat, combine the farro with 2 cups cold water. Bring the water to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the farro and run it under cold water to cool. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled farro with the peas, feta cheese, olives, sunflower seeds, parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the lemon juice with the olive oil. Mix half of the lemon vinaigrette with the farro salad and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Arrange the arugula on a large serving plate and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Spoon the farro salad over the arugula and serve immediately.

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