Salad Recipes

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Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

Even thought I was in the throes of moving, when I saw this corn salad recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site, I paused and made it for lunch for friends who were helping us. Just give yourself a little time for the onions to pickle.

Your New Favorite (Corn) Salad

  • 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, or crema
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 ounces (heaped 1/2 cup) crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 lime, halved
  • Tajín seasoning or chile powder
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Combine red onion, red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons cold water, salt, and sugar in a bowl or jar. Set in fridge until needed. Onions will be very lightly pickled by the time you’re done assembling the salad, but if you can give them 1-2 hours in the fridge, they’ll be better.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Lightly oil grill grates and place corn cobs directly on them. Cook corn until charred in spots all over, turning as often as needed. Transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly.

While you’re grilling your corn, combine sour cream, mayo, and cotija cheese. Spread on the bottom of your serving plate. Cut corn from cobs with a sharp knife and pile it over the cheese mix on the platter. Squeeze the juice of half a lime all over, then scatter with the pickled onion rings from the fridge. Generously shake Tajín or chile powder all over; if you’re using plain chile powder, season with salt and an extra squeeze of lime. Top with cilantro leaves. Cut remaining lime half into wedges and serve alongside. Serve and enjoy right away while the dressing is cold, and the corn is warm!

My verdict: Amazing! I’ve been wanting to try to make elote anyway and seeing this just sealed the deal. I had some chorizo, so we grilled that and served it with the corn salad. It was a perfect summer lunch and there wasn’t a kernel of corn leftover.

It was so good, that in the middle of moving, I almost bought some more corn just to grill so we could have it in our new (grillless apartment), but I’m hoping my grill pan will do a decent job.

If you have a Mexican grocery nearby, you can get the Tajin, cojita and crema there, otherwise substitute chile powder, crumbled feta and sour cream. I did use homemade mayo and crema, but it’s so good that that probably didn’t make much of a difference.

The Tajin seasoning is great and you’ll find lots of other uses for it. I might introduce it to some Fritos and see if I can replicate my favorite junk food from Mexico—Fritos with chili and lime. What do you put it on?

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Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

Plated Salmon Nicoise SaladNow that the weather is getting better it’s time to start breaking out the salad recipes. This is an interesting take on a classic salad Niçoise, using salmon instead of tuna. Serves 4.

Roasted Salmon Niçoise Salad

  • 1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1 anchovy fillet, minced
  • 6 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted olives, preferably Niçoise or Kalamata
  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut, skin-on salmon fillets
  • 5 ounces tender salad greens, like baby red and green leaf lettuce

Tomatoes, Beans and Olives for RoastingHeat the oven to 400° and place a rack near the top of the oven. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. On a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper to make cleaning up easier), arrange the potatoes so the cut sides are facing down and roast for 20 minutes.
While the potatoes roast, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the eggs and cook over medium heat for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs, and when they are cool enough to handle, peel and quarter them.
Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the garlic, anchovy, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside.
In the bowl you used for the potatoes, add the haricots verts, tomatoes and olives along with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Add the vegetables to the sides of the baking sheet with the potatoes, leaving a space in the center of the sheet pan. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel and place them, skin-side down, in the center of the sheet pan.
Salmon and Vegetables for RoastingBrush salmon with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast on the top rack in the oven for 10 minutes.
Turn the broiler to high and broil for 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown the salmon. (If you don’t have a broiler, roast salmon for an additional 2 to 3 minutes instead.) The salmon should flake easily and be just cooked in the center.
Add the greens to the large bowl with the dressing and toss gently. Place greens on a large platter, leaving a narrow border at the platter’s edges. Place the salmon fillets in the middle of the platter, then arrange the roasted vegetables and eggs around them. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: For a couple of people who are usually pretty particular about their Salade Niçoise this was a great version! And since eating more fish, especially salmon, is a goal, this is a painless way to add it to our diet.
Now that it is warmer out, I might just do everything on the grill. Either way, it’s a good main course salad.
Next time, maybe a handful of capers?

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Zucchini Salad With Mint and Feta

Accidental Locavore Zucchini and SquashZucchini never ends.

While you’ve got plenty of zucchini and while we’re still got warm weather, this salad is light and refreshing, quick to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. Serves 4-6 from NY Times Cooking.

Accidental Locavore Zucchini Salad With Pine NutsZucchini Salad With Mint and Feta

  • 1 ½pounds small zucchini or summer squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1tablespoon thinly sliced chives
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped mint
  • 2tablespoons roughly chopped sorrel
  • 4ounces feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish
  • 3tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted, for garnish

Slice the ends of the zucchini. Julienne with a large knife, spiralizer, mandoline, or julienne tool.

Transfer to a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and juice and toss well. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Add yogurt and toss to coat well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add chopped herbs and mix gently. Garnish with feta and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Zucchini Feta SaladMy verdict: Even if you think you’ve had enough zucchini, this will change your mind! It’s a simple summer salad that comes together quickly and is a delicious change from the other thousand ways you’ve made zucchini this summer.

Don’t panic if you don’t have sorrel, it’s a lovely lemony flavored herb to have in your garden, but you could substitute some more mint, a little oregano or thyme and be perfectly happy.

Do panic if you don’t have small zucchini or summer squash or you’ll have a very watery salad. A mix of yellow and green squash will give it some nice color. You could even toss in some julienned cucumber for a differernt sort of crunch.

My guest for dinner the night I made this, quickly finished it off and they’re not the most adventurous eaters.

So, give it a try and it may actually make you wish for more zucchini. What do you think?

 

 

 

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Escarole Recipe: Try This Easy Escarole Salad

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:

Escarole Salad

  • 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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Cambodian Pineapple Salad

Accidental Locavore Pineapple Salad IngredientsWho knew I’d fall in love with a pineapple salad?

Last week I conned my bestie into taking a Cambodian cooking class with me at Brooklyn Kitchen.

The Accidental Locavore did it mostly because I had no clue what Cambodian cooking was all about.

Had never eaten it.

Or cooked it.

It’s like its neighbors Vietnam, Thai, Laos, and uses the five tastes that are essential to that part of the world – sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami.

One of our favorite dishes was this pineapple salad. It makes a big bowl of salad, depending on the size of your pineapple.

Cambodian Pineapple Salad

Salad:

  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, sliced thin
  • ½ bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped (include stems)
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai or serrano chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sambal sauce (or Sriracha)

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small container with a (tight) lid. Shake to combine. Taste and adjust the lemon, fish sauce and chile to taste.

Pour over the salad, toss, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

I guess it’s time to change (or open my mind) about sweet ingredients with savory ones. This pineapple salad is a perfect example. It’s not something I would normally make, but it was my favorite dish of the class! The dressing would be good on all kinds of things, like chicken, fish or shrimp.

As a matter of fact, everyone at my table thought the whole thing would make a wonderful ceviche!

You can add or remove almost any ingredient. I’d add basil, especially Thai Holy Basil if I came across some. The salad we had in class had red and green peppers, I’m not a huge fan, so left them out of my version. Mango could easily replace the pineapple–you get the idea. Have fun!

I made it and brought it to a Slow Food Hudson Valley meeting and everyone loved it, guess this is a keeper.

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Lime Turmeric Salad Dressing

accidental-locavore-lime-turmeric-dressing-on-tomatoesLime, turmeric, ginger – got a couple of superfoods in this salad dressing, so it might actually be good for you.

And Zagat’s has named turmeric “this year’s trendiest superfood“.

The Accidental Locavore had some cilantro that wasn’t going to last much longer so I gave this recipe from Ottolenghi via bon appétit a shot.

Since everything ends up in a food processor, your chopping doesn’t need to be picture perfect.

Makes about ¾ cup.

Lime Turmeric Salad Dressing

  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest (from about ½ lime)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and roughly chopped (more or less to taste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Put the turmeric, ginger, garlic, cilantro, lime zest and juice and some of the jalapeno into the food processor, pulse until finely chopped.

With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. Taste and add salt and more jalapeno as needed. Serve over your favorite greens and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-lime-turmeric-salad-dressingMy verdict: Not love at first bite.  Tried the lime turmeric salad dressing on some heirloom tomatoes and then on some local lettuce and was, frankly, underwhelmed.

The original recipe called for a whole jalapeno and this time I was playing it safe. I ended up using about a quarter of a pretty big and spicy one, so unless you’re a heat freak (and/or you know how hot your chile is) err on the cautious side with this.

I think turmeric is an acquired taste. Good in small doses when it blends with other spices. It gave the dressing a slightly soapy taste and adding more lime juice didn’t perk it up. The original recipe called for fresh turmeric (4” piece peeled and chopped) and that might make a difference, but turmeric is hard to come by in my ‘hood. Are you able to find it by you? And have you ever used it?

 

 

 

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Ottolenghi’s Salad With Tomatoes

Accidental Locavore Ottlenghi Tomatoes in SaladIt’s Labor Day and I’m not laboring.

Take advantage of some great tomatoes and try this summery salad from an earlier post.

Sometimes, looking at the availability of good ingredients, you wonder about the timing of cookbooks. The Accidental Locavore tried to get a reviewer’s copy of the upcoming Plenty More (due out in October) and was turned down.

Luckily, Bon Appetit ran a few recipes from the book and this tomato salad caught my eye. I roasted the lemons ahead of time (on a cool evening), so they were ready to go and this came together quickly:

  • 1 lemon, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pound mixed cherry tomatoes, or small heirlooms quartered
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large

Preheat oven to 325°. Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of boiling water 2 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain and pat dry.

Accidental Locavore Sliced Lemons for TomatoesToss lemon slices with sage, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium bowl. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lemons are dry and starting to brown about 15–20 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk pomegranate molasses, allspice, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add lemons, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and mint. Toss gently; season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: A great change from tomatoes and mozzarella, it’s light and refreshing, with a nice tang from the lemons and pomegranate molasses and it might be the easiest salad dressing on the planet! My pomegranate molasses will be getting a lot more use from now on – it was great with the tomatoes and mint. I also really liked the roasted lemon slices and saved some to toss in with my usual lunch salad. Next time, I’ll roast a couple of lemons at the same time and keep them in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for future use – they’d be good with a chicken too. Mint would also go well if you didn’t have any sage. My husband thought the lemon slices would be better cut in half, but I liked them as is.

And I’d still love to see a reviewer’s copy of the book…

 

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Potato Salad With Lemon and Mint Recipe

Accidental Locavore Baby PotatoesPotato salad is a summer staple.

As good as potato salad is, the Accidental Locavore is not a huge fan of potato salad with either mayo or hard-boiled eggs. When I saw this from the NY Times, it looked like a nice change from my go-to French potato salad. Serves 4:

Accidental Locavore Potato Salad With Lemon and MintPotato Salad With Lemon and Mint Recipe

  • 2 pounds small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size
  • Juice of 1 lemon, more for serving
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts, more for serving
  • ¼ cup torn mint leaves, more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, more for serving

Cut the potatoes in half, or quarters if they’re large. Put potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to cover by 1”. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and olive oil.

Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with dressing, scallions, mint and Turkish pepper. Let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, top with additional lemon juice, scallions, mint and Aleppo pepper.

My verdict: Easy and good! Will they take the place of the French potato salad? Probably not, but how can you compete with bacon (and bacon fat)???

If you don’t have Aleppo, or ¼ teaspoon of some exotic pepper (because it’s soooo worth it to go out for 1/4 teaspoon of anything), just use freshly ground black pepper.

Other herbs to consider would have to include sage, rosemary and tarragon – essentially anything fresh.

I always cut the potatoes before boiling.  It saves time, both in cooking and in waiting for them to cool enough to cut. However, you must start the potatoes in cool water. Otherwise they’ll never cook evenly all the way through and especially with potato salad, you don’t want them mushy on the outside.

What’s your favorite potato salad?

 

 

 

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Grilled Summer Squash and Fennel Salad Recipe

Accidental Locavore Summer SquashFaced with a pile of summer squash and fennel and requested to bring a salad to a recent party, the Accidental Locavore went trolling through a pile of cookbooks, hoping to find all the squash and/or fennel recipes that might have been saved for warmer months.

In Ottolenghi’s Plenty More there was a recipe for courgette (not to brag, but I have a signed British copy) and fennel with saffron crumbs.

Being lazy, this was more of a riff on the original. Serves 4.

Accidental Locavore Summer Squash and Fennel SaladGrilled Summer Squash and Fennel Salad

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat your grill (or grill pan, if apartment bound) on high heat.

In a medium pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the garlic and breadcrumbs. Fry for about a minute until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.

In a large bowl, toss the summer squash and fennel with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Grill until both sides are nicely charred, about 6 minutes a side for the fennel, less for the squash.

Put the summer squash and fennel back in the large bowl. Add the lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss gently. Let marinate for about 15-20 minutes.

Plate the vegetables on a large platter, sprinkle with the dill. Top with the breadcrumbs, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Grilled Summer SquashMy verdict: Not really my verdict this time…even though I doubled the recipe, I should have made more. It disappeared quickly at the party and one of my friends confided that she’d had three helpings!

Because it needed to travel, I grilled the fennel and squash (a mix of summer squash and zucchini) separately and marinated them overnight. Put it together with the dill and breadcrumbs at the party. If you’re off to a pot-luck or picnic, this is a perfect dish to make. It travels well and doesn’t need to be hot or cold – all good in the summer.

I cut all the squash lengthwise and then in half because it seemed to be easier to deal with at a buffet. Slicing and grilling some Japanese eggplant I had crossed my mind, but then I decided to keep it simple.

From what (little) I ate, it could have used a little more dill and breadcrumbs, but still a big hit!

 

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Smashed Cucumber Salad Recipe

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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