Salad Recipes

Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on July 14, 2016

Accidental Locavore Smashed Cucumber SaladWhat do you do with cucumbers?

Like zucchini, cucumbers are a CSA staple.

However, there seem to be a lot fewer things to do with cucumbers.

Toss them in salads.

Make cold cucumber soup (here’s a delicious recipe). Gazpacho.

And then?

The Accidental Locavore found this smashed cucumber salad recipe on the NY Times Cooking site and has been saving it for the reappearance of cucumbers. It’s easy and serves 4-6 as a side dish.

  • About 2 pounds thin-skinned cucumbers like English or Persian (8 to 10 mini cucumbers, 4 medium-size or 2 large greenhouse), washed and patted dry.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, plus more for cucumbers
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Small handful whole cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Accidental Locavore Smashed CucumbersTo make the smashed cucumber salad:

Cut the cucumbers crosswise into pieces about 4” long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.

On a work surface, place a piece of cucumber (or several) cut side down. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top of the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds will separate. Repeat until all the cucumbers are smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.

Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Place a Ziploc bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15 to 30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.

Accidental Locavore Sauce for Smashed CucumbersMake the dressing: In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Stir in sesame oil and soy sauce.

When ready to serve, shake cucumbers well to drain off any remaining liquid and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and the red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated but not drowned. Taste and add more pepper flakes and garlic if needed. Serve garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds and enjoy!

My verdict: Who wouldn’t have fun smashing cucumbers for a salad? Until you find that there are cucumber seeds all over the kitchen (and the dog won’t have anything to do with them).

This was really good and a perfect summer side dish. If you don’t have thin-skinned cucumbers, cut the smashed pieces into small bits. After tasting it a few times, I just tossed all the garlic (only one large clove) and dressing into the salad. Just go easy with the red pepper flakes, until you find a good balance.

Next time I make this, I might smash some Sichuan peppercorns in place of the red pepper flakes and bash the cucumbers in the sink (since I hate cleaning floors). Even toasted, the sesame seeds got lost in the salad, but the cilantro was a nice touch.

Do you think this is something you’d try?

 

 

 

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Escarole Recipe: Try This Easy Escarole Salad

by Anne Maxfield on July 7, 2016

Accidental Locavore Escarole Salad RecipeI hate gritty produce.

At the CSA pick-up recently, one of the things Frank brought home was a beautiful head of escarole. It’s something I always like, both cooked and raw, but tend to avoid because it needs careful washing and sometimes I’m just not in the mood (you know what I mean?).

After a leisurely bath and a thorough shower (the escarole, not the Accidental Locavore), it was ready for a simple escarole salad recipe I’d seen in bon appètit. This served 6:

  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 6 cups torn escarole (from about 2 heads)
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed capers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved peeled horseradish (or prepared horseradish)

Soak onion in a small bowl of ice water at least 30 minutes (you can do this while the escarole is soaking). Drain and pat dry.

Whisk crème fraîche, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add escarole, capers, and drained onion; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Top salad with horseradish and season with more pepper, serve and enjoy!

Finished Escarole RecipeMy verdict: This escarole salad was made for dinner with friends. Because there wasn’t a scrap left, it proved to be a big hit. Super simple and really delicious! While the summer may be peak time for escarole, it’s not for fresh horseradish, which becomes a small problem. Imagine how much better this could be with the punch you’d get from fresh (or fresher than what I had) horseradish!

Instead of soaking the onions (which I do a lot these days with raw onions) I had made some pickled red onions and used those instead.

The dressing I made separately so I could do it ahead of time. Check it for taste, remembering that it’s going on bitter greens so you might want to add a bit more crème fraîche and adjust the horseradish accordingly.

It’s a great dressing and would work well on a lot of different greens. Grilled radicchio anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

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Accidental Locavore Grilled RomaineStart your summer grilling off in a great way! This is an easy Caesar salad, made better by a few minutes on the grill and has become part of the Accidental Locavore’s summer repertoire. This is really easy and if you want to make it even easier, you can use your favorite bottled dressing (but don’t, the dressing is easy and super-delicious!). This started out from a recipe in the NY Times, but then I skipped half the steps…

  • 3 anchovies
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 egg yolk (I used a jumbo egg, if you have smaller ones, you might want 2)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (use a good quality oil)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, quartered the long way and gently washed
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Light the grill.

In the work bowl of a small food processor (I use a Cuisinart mini-chopper) put the mustard, egg yolk, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Process until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of the oil and process until well combined. Add the rest of the oil, again processing until smooth. You want it to be the consistency of a thin mayonnaise. Taste and add salt and pepper and more oil if necessary.

With a pastry brush, brush the romaine quarters with the dressing on all sides, making sure to get it between the leaves. Lightly grill the lettuce on all sides, about 15 seconds on the back (leaf side) and 20-25 seconds on each side, until it starts to brown. Brush with the remaining dressing, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, cover and grill for about 30 seconds until the cheese has started to melt (you want to cook the leafy side (the back) a little less than the sides, so that when you put the cheese on to melt you’re not burning it). Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Spotted RomaineMy verdict: this was a surprising hit! Recently, there have been lots of recipes for grilling salad, but I was a little skeptical…who needs to cook lettuce, when it’s so good cold and crispy? We made this for friends for dinner and it was so good, we went back out, bought more romaine and made it the next day for lunch. There is something so good about the warm, almost charred outsides and the cool, crispy interior. Definitely worth a try! Surprisingly, for someone who doesn’t like anchovies, I usually find myself adding more to the dressing. You could toss on some croutons, but you probably won’t miss them. Also, now that we make this a lot, we generally just sprinkle the Parmesan on top when we serve it.

 

 

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A New Take on an Old Classic – The Wedge Salad

by Anne Maxfield on July 16, 2015

Accidental Locavore Cabbage WedgeThe Accidental Locavore came across this new idea for the classic iceburg wedge. This wedge is cabbage and it’s sweet and delicious, roasted or grilled. Make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate for up to a week, if you like. Serves 4:

Accidental Locavore Blue Cheese Dressing MakingsFor the dressing:

  • ½ cup (about 3.5 oz) crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Salt and pepper

Accidental Locavore Cabbage Wedge PrepFor the salad:

  • 6 to 8 thin slices pastrami (2 to 3 oz.)
  • 1 small head (2 to 3 lb.) green cabbage, outer leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 to 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, mash the blue cheese with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, buttermilk, lemon juice, Sriracha, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

Make the salad: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Lay the pastrami flat on a small foil-lined baking sheet and roast until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel, cool, then crumble into about 1” pieces.

Accidental Locavore Pastrami ShredsCut the cabbage into 4 wedges through the root end, leaving some of the core intact on each piece so the wedges don’t fall apart. On a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, coat the cabbage wedges with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the wedges on a flat side and roast until browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes. (Don’t worry if the outer leaves begin to burn.) Flip each wedge and continue roasting until the second side is browned as well, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Accidental Locavore Grilled CabbageSpread about a tablespoon of the blue cheese dressing on each of four serving plates. Place a cabbage wedge on top and drizzle with more of the remaining dressing. Scatter the pastrami, tomatoes and chives over the wedges and garnish with the tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I probably came late to the table on roasting/grilling leafy greens, and am trying to make up for lost time. I did roast the cabbage in the oven, and then stuck it on the grill to give it a little more flavor. It was delicious – the cabbage was a little warm and sweet from the roasting. It’s a good blue cheese dressing and if you want to spice it up more, just add some more Sriracha. The pastrami was good mixed with the dressing because of the spices coating it, but bacon would be a fine substitute. If you were short on buttermilk, some plain yogurt or sour cream would work, just taste it before adding too much. Give it a try and let me know what you think, ok?

 

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