Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Green asparagus salad with parmesan shavings

30 April 2014

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When you grow up in France or Germany, asparagus is invariably white, steamed or gently boiled, and served with some variant of Hollandaise sauce. When you move elsewhere, say to New York, your view of the world will likely deepen, expand, diversify; you will notice that asparagus can also be green.

You will learn that asparagus is, in fact, always green, that white asparagus is manually ‘blanched,’ hidden in little mounds of earth as it grows to prevent the sun from wielding its photosynthetic magic. You will discover that green asparagus absolutely should be grilled on a barbecue as soon the weather permits, or braised with a little acidity in the oven on a wintry spring evening. And, indispensably, green asparagus must also be eaten raw, in a simple salad, just like this.

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The tricky aspect is slicing the asparagus very thinly, lengthwise, so a good vegetable peeler is a must. My personal favorite is this kind.

Green asparagus, it should be very fresh and taut

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Good quality balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Chunk of parmiggiano reggiano cheese

Wash the asparagus. With a knife, cut off the tough end of the stalks (about 1 inch) and discard.

Cut off the asparagus heads and slice these lengthwise in halves or thirds (depending how thick they are). For the stalks, use the vegetable peeler to shave them into long strands, beginning at the thicker end.

In a serving bowl, toss the asparagus with some olive oil, lemon juice, a few drops balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Add coarse shavings of parmiggiano reggiano, and serve.

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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Related posts

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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Related posts

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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Related posts

Endive salad with apples, walnuts, and comté

Lentil and fennel salad with lemon and parsley

Parsnip and butternut squash soup with sage


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