Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Brussels sprouts and pecorino salad

6 December 2013

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I nearly didn’t make this salad for Thanksgiving.

With Sam Sifton’s peremptory Thanksgiving book still ringing in my ears, I did, in fact, briefly debate the pros and cons of his strict no-salad rule. Might it diminish the lusciousness of the meal? Is it the last thing anyone wants to see on a festive table? On the other hand, this barely counts as salad. Surely by salad, Sifton means lettuce?

As it turned out, this deceptively simple dish of raw Brussels sprouts and fresh pecorino, both finely shaved and tossed with a simple dressing, was — again — undoubtedly one of the favorites of the table. On the contrary, what a welcome bounce on the palate between forkfuls of turkey and chestnut stuffing.

This dish wasn’t born as a Thanksgiving side, and shouldn’t die as one. It is a salad for any occasion. I first encountered something similar quite some years ago in the lunch bar up the block from our office in Soho. That version had walnuts, and though adding nuts would be overkill on Thanksgiving, they marry perfectly.

This is barely a recipe, just a few very good ingredients tossed together. It must be made a few hours ahead, so the dressing has time to soften the Brussels sprouts. There should be enough pecorino for a shaving or two in each mouthful.

Very fresh Brussels sprouts, preferably still on the stem because snapping them off is a fun occupation for children on Thanksgiving morning

Pecorino, not too aged

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Sherry or good wine vinegar

Best olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly hulled walnuts (optional)

Trim and remove one or two outer leaves of each Brussels sprout, then shave them finely with a mandolin or a sharp knife and lots of patience.

Cut the pecorino into paper thin shavings.

The salad is very thirsty and will soak up the dressing, so plan generously, but the proportions are roughly: 5 lemon juice plus 1 vinegar to 8 olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper. Taste the salad and adjust dressing/seasoning as necessary.

Winter cabbage slaw with miso ginger dressing

1 February 2013

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Where has January gone? It disappeared in a few flurries of snow that sprinkled the city white and pretty and were swept away in a wink. It was devoured by raclettes and tagines, spicy lentil soups, and the best chocolate brownies.

And so, suddenly, hello February. Today you are my favorite month. After a couple of unnaturally warm days the cold is back, which is as it should be.

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It seems I wouldn’t make a very good Texan, because I prefer slaw without mayonnaise, This isn’t to say that I don’t like slaw with mayonnaise, I love coleslaw in general, even the limp overdressed versions of average diners. But, given the choice, I prefer a citrus-y, Asian-inflected variant. This miso ginger dressing is adapted from the beautiful blog 101 Cookbooks. I added fresh grated ginger, lime juice, and reduced the sweetness for something more assertive.

Winter slaw

1/2 small red cabbage

1/2 small white cabbage

1 fennel bulb

2 or 3 celery stalks

Fresh parsley leaves

Slice all the vegetables very thinly, using a food processor, a mandolin, or a very sharp knife.

Miso ginger dressing

A 1/2 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated

2 Tbsps white miso paste

1/2 tsp strong Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp mild runny honey

Juice from 1 lime

1/4 (60 ml) cup rice vinegar

1/3 (100 ml) cup olive oil

Mix together the grated ginger, miso paste, mustard, and honey until they are all well combined into a smooth paste.

Add the lime juice and rice vinegar, stir well, and finally the olive oil.

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Endive salad with apples, walnuts, and comté

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil

Watermelon, mint, and feta salad

11 September 2012

When my friend Tamara introduced me to this salad some years ago I was surprised at first, intrigued, and immediately smitten. I’ve made it often since and it usually elicits a similar reaction — surprise at the sight of feta, curious interest in the addition of olive oil, and prompt addiction to each salty sweet cool crunchy bite. It’s as simple as its four ingredients and magically transcends the sum of its parts, as they say.

I see it more often now, but in case you hadn’t yet crossed paths with this awesome combination, you must give it a try. It’s best eaten without utensils, just by picking up each watermelon wedge capped with feta and mint. Beware the juice.

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Chilled watermelon

Good feta

Fresh mint

Best extra virgin olive oil

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Cut the watermelon into approximately 2 inch (5 cm) wedges, and each long wedge into approximately 3/4 inch (1 cm) pieces. Place the watermelon pieces on a plate or shallow dish.

Crumble lots of feta on top of the watermelon.

Wash, pick through, and thinly cut the mint leaves. Sprinkle over the feta.

Finally, drizzle a thin ribbon of olive oil and serve.

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Avocado, cherry tomato, cucumber salad with red pepper and parsley

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil

18 February 2012

I was craving something green.

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Pumpkin seed oil is quite common in Germany and Austria. Here in New York I have found it in health food stores, in the refrigerated section.

I rarely prepare salad dressing on the side; I usually just sprinkle the oil and lemon juice or vinegar directly onto the greens. It’s faster. The traditional ratio for salad dressing is three parts oil for one part vinegar but I prefer a little more pep.

1 bunch dandelion leaves

1 fennel bulb

1 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil

2 Tbsps olive oil

1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp Lemon juice

Flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

A small handful of raw pumpkin seeds

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Cut off the lower part of the dandelion stems, wash the leaves and spin or pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Tear or chop the larger leaves in half.

Cut off the stems and remove the coarse outer layer of the fennel bulb. Thinly slice it crosswise to obtain rings.

Place the dandelion leaves and fennel rings in a bowl. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seed and olive oils, the vinegar, the lemon juice, and toss well to dress the greens. Season with salt and pepper, and the pumpkin seeds, and toss one last time.

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Lentil and fennel salad with lemon and parsley

28 April 2011

I made this salad for Easter lunch on Sunday. I imagined it as I went. Or so I thought.

Many people liked it a lot, and one friend in particular complimented me on the originality of the pairing. I graciously accepted the comment, but all the while something in the back of my mind was nagging. Surely I had not really come up with the idea. I must have seen it somewhere. Speaking to my mother on the phone the next day I asked her about this salad. Had she not previously made something similar that might have half-consciously inspired me?

My mother is an incredible cook, and a nutritionist. Not a steamed-carrots-and-brown-rice kind of nutritionist. She loves good food, really good food. Meat, fish, vegetables, salads, desserts, and – yes – butter. She has written a few books about nutrition, one of which is a book of recipes. Sure enough, one of those recipes is a lentil salad with fennel, parsley, and coriander.

This lentil and fennel salad is different, but the inspiration – as it turns out and like so many other things in my life without my realizing it at first – is my mother’s.

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1 cup green lentils (preferably Castelluccio or du Puy)

1 small red onion

2 bulbs fennel

A generous handful flat-leaved parsley

1 bay leaf

3 Tbsps good olive oil

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

Juice and zest from 1 lemon (more lemon juice may be required depending on how juicy it is)

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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The lentils are cooked the same way as for this basic lentils recipe

Pick through the lentils to look for small stone intruders that must be discarded.

To wash lentils, cover with cold water and drain in a fine mesh sieve.

Peel and cut into large chunks the onion and half a fennel, reserving the rest of the fennel for later.

Place lentils into a medium-sized saucepan with 2 cups (double the volume) water. Add vegetable chunks, a few sprigs of parsley, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat when the lentils are cooked to your liking – I like them to retain a nice bite. Discard sprigs of parsley and vegetable chunks, pour lentils into a large bowl, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

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Wash and finely chop the rest of the parsley.

Cut the fennel in half. Place it face side down onto the cutting board, and cut into thin strips, height-wise.

Season the lentils with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper. **The measurements given above are suggestions. I find that lentils hold up to a bold amount of acidity. It is best to season gradually, and adjust according to taste.**

Toss the lentils with the fennel and parsley. Check one last time for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve.

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Related posts

Lentils

Dandelion, fennel, and pumpkin seed salad with pumpkin seed oil


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