Tidewater Kitchen - June 2010

 

Sensational Salads
by
Pamela Meredith-Doyle

 

I love salads because they are good for you and a great way to get fruits and vegetables into your diet. They are also quick, easy and delicious.
I wash all my fruits and vegetables as soon as I get home from the grocery store. I also cut up my carrot and celery and put then into Tupperware containers with a bit of water and then pop them in the refrigerator. When you are organized and have everything ready, you can fix a quick meal, or have them for healthy snacks to enjoy when the kids get home from school.
I wash my greens in the sink or a bowl full of water. Swirl them in the water, allowing the dirt to sink to the bottom. Remove them from the water and shake well. I dry them with an old pillow case, but you can use a towel or salad spinner. At this point they can be refrigerated in an open plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Many different types of tomatoes are available right now. The perfect tomato choice is really quite simple. Vine-ripened tomatoes are the best choice for all salads. They have the best flavor and cannot be beat for their juiciness and texture.

LEMON VINAIGRETTE
Makes 2 cups
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 t. finely chopped shallots
4 t. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the lemon juice, shallots, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil slowly while you are whisking constantly, until the dressing thickens. Serve immediately or put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

SIMPLE MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
Makes 2/3 cup
1 T. good quality Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of your favorite vinegar
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
1 T. of your favorite herb
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the mustard in a bowl and then whisk in the vinegar, salt, pepper and your favorite herb. I prefer fresh parsley. Add the olive oil slowly as you whisk constantly until the dressing thickens. Add seasoning to taste and serve immediately or place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

BABY GREENS with SUGARED ALMONDS
Serves 8
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
10 cups fresh mixed greens, washed

Dressing:
2 T. sugar
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. of your favorite vinegar
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T. green onions, finely chopped
1 pint strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced

In a small skillet, heat the sugar over medium high heat until it begins to melt. Add the almonds to the pan and toss rapidly until the sugar coats all of the almonds and they are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch them carefully, as they can burn quickly. Pour them into a pan so they can cool and you can break them apart.
To prepare the salad greens, begin by soaking them in icy cold water for 20 minutes as soon as you bring them home. Do not tear the leaves. Just remove them from the head or bag and soak them. Dry the greens thoroughly. Layer the dried greens in a heavy-duty resealable bag, separating each layer of greens with a paper towel to absorb the extra water. Close the bag, leaving a 2-inch opening to allow the greens to breathe.
No more than 6 hours before serving, tear the greens and place them in a bowl. Put a damp towel over the top and place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep them crisp and moist until you are ready to dress them.
To prepare the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing thickens.
In a large bowl, pile the greens, green onions and strawberries, or whichever fruit you choose. Toss them with the dressing and add the almonds. Give it one last toss and serve.

PASTA SALAD with CHICKEN and GRAPES
Serves 8
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

Salad:
8 oz. of your favorite pasta
Salt
1 8-oz. can of chunk pineapple, drained with juice reserved for the dressing
1/2 cup celery, chopped
3/4 cup red or yellow pepper, chopped, seeded and diced
1/4 cup green onions, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1½ cups seedless red grapes
1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped

Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1½ t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

To prepare the salad, bring the chicken and chicken broth to a simmer over low heat in a medium-sized pan. Simmer gently, uncovered, until the chicken reaches 160°, about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool completely. Reserve the broth for soup or other uses. When the chicken is cool, cube it to the size of the pineapple chunks.
Cook the pasta in 6 quarts of boiling, salted water for just about 9 minutes, then drain.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl combine the pineapple, chicken and celery, bell pepper, almonds, onion, grapes and apple.
To prepare the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a fork until smooth. Add the drained pasta to the chicken mixture. Pour the dressing over the salad, starting with half of it and then adding more as needed.
Toss to mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary, then serve or refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Serve the remaining dressing alongside.

APPLE, CABBAGE and CASHEW SLAW
Serves 5
This tastes better with time!
1 cup apples, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries
3 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage or your favorite slaw mix

Dressing:
2 T. fresh lime juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. sugar
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cashews

In a medium bowl, toss the apple slices with the lime juice to keep them from turning brown. Toss in the onion, cabbage and cranberries. Mix well.
For the dressing, beat together the lime juice, mustard, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing thickens.
Toss the dressing with the salad. Just before serving, toss in the cashews.

PEAR and CHEESE SALAD with HONEY VINAIGRETTE
Serves 4
This great salad is easy to make, so make sure you have some of your favorite cheeses in your refrigerator so you can whip this up! Canned fruits are acceptable, so you can have this salad year round.

Honey Vinaigrette:
3 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. honey mustard
1 t. finely chopped green onion
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 T. honey
1/2 cup canola oil

Salad:
3 cups mixed field greens, washed and dried
2 large ripe pears or 1 15-oz. can pears, drained
1 t. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, either shaved or grated

In a small bowl, beat together the vinegar, mustard, onion, salt and pepper. Beat in the honey until dissolved. Add the oil in a slow stream, beating constantly until the dressing thickens.
In a large bowl, toss the greens with a small amount of the vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!

GRILLED PITA SALAD with SPICY GRILLED SHRIMP
Serves 6
1 12-oz. pkg. wheat pita bread
3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into small pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced into bite-sized pieces

Dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1½ T. grainy Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Shrimp:
3 T. butter
3 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh lemon juice and zest
2 t. paprika
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
3 lbs. large shrimp in the shell

Preheat the grill for about 7 minutes until it gets hots. Toast the pita for 2 to 3 minutes, watching very carefully so you don’t burn them. Once they are cooled, cut them into triangles.
In a small bowl mix together the vinegar and mustard. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing thickens, and set aside until it’s time to serve the salad.
While the grill is hot, prepare the shrimp. In a small saucepan add the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add all the remaining ingredients except the shrimp. Stir well and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place the shrimp in the bowl with the marinade and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from the bowl and place a seafood screen or veggie tray on the hot grill. Grill until they are opaque, 2 to 4 minutes altogether, turning once halfway through the grilling time. Remove from the grill.
In a large bowl combine the pita wedges, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and olives. Pour the dressing over the salad and add the basil, oregano and Feta cheese. Toss lightly. Cover and let stand about 20 minutes and then serve it with the yummy grilled shrimp. This can be served on a bed of salad greens.

CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD with MUSTARD GRILLED CHICKEN
Serves 6
Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 T. anchovy paste
3 cloves finely chopped and smashed garlic
1 T. Dijon mustard
1½ t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup egg substitute
3 T. lemon juice with zest
2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Chicken Marinade:
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. chicken breasts, with skin on

Garlic Croutons:
1/3 cup olive oil
1½ T. crushed garlic
6 slices whole wheat bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, anchovy paste, garlic, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Then add the egg substitute and whisk together. Add the lemon juice and the rest of the dressing ingredients together until it is thickened. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken. In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and add the chicken. Marinate the chicken for an hour.
Heat your grill and place the chicken, skin side down, on the hot grill. Once the chicken is brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes, turn it and brown the other side, about 5 minutes more.
Once it is brown on both sides, transfer the chicken to a pan and put it in the oven at 325° to cook for about 10 minutes more, or until it reaches 160° with an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the oven and cover it with foil. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Slice it and add it to the salad.
In a large frying pan combine the oil and garlic for the croutons. Fry the garlic until browned, but do not burn it. Add the bread cubes and coat with the garlic and oil. Toss until croutons are browned.
In a large bowl, add the salad, grilled chicken and croutons. Toss lightly with the salad dressing and serve.

FRESH TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD
Serves 4
1 large ripe mango, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 large ripe papaya, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 large banana, sliced
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 T. honey
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup grated unsweetened coconut

Place all fruit in the bowl and top with the Greek yogurt. Drizzle with honey and orange juices. Toss lightly. Chill if you wish for about an hour or serve at room temperature.