Yogurt-Cucumber Dressing

October 19, 2007


Sometimes great recipes happen by chance. You have a little leftover vinaigrette, a little cucumber raita. You mix ‘em together, and—presto!—a great new salad dressing. This makes enough for 2 1/2 cups of cooked couscous or about 5 ounces of greens. It’s really good! HARRY

2 tablespoon Mustard Vinaigrette
4 tablespoons Raita

In a small bowl, whisk together the Mustard Vinaigrette and Raita. Toss with couscous, cold pasta, rice, or salad greens.
Makes 3/4 cup.

Couscous Salad with Pine Nuts

October 18, 2007


A couscous salad so rich and nutty you can make a meal on it. HARRY

1 cup water or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup couscous
2 ounces toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup plumped golden raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4 tablespoons Mustard Vinaigrette or Yogurt-Cucumber Dressing
2 ounces fresh salad greens

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the water or stock, bay leaf, oil, and salt and bring to a boil. Place the couscous in a medium bowl, pour the boiling mixture on top, and cover with a plate or lid. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Discard the bay leaf. Add the pine nuts, raisins, and parsley and toss with the dressing. Serve at room temperature on salad greens.
Makes 4 servings.

Fridge Salad

October 3, 2007


Okay, if you have a can opener, you can make this salad. Chop the veggies, boil the dressing, toss it all together, and stick it in the fridge. Every night—for weeks!—you’ll have your own ready-made salad. Of course, sharing would be nice … HARRY

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can French-style green beans, drained
1 (5-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
4 medium center ribs celery, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings (2/3 cup)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, chick peas, green beans, water chestnuts, celery, and onion. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover tightly and chill. Salad will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Makes 8 servings.

Asparagus Salad

September 27, 2007


You know how silly you feel when you discover something you should have known years before? That’s how I feel about raw asparagus. For years I steamed, sautéed, or roasted this great vegetable. Then one day I tasted the fresh, green crunch of asparagus just out of the garden. Amazing! Buy slender, green spears; trim and slice them. That’s all you have to do for a fabulous salad. You can even toss them with pasta, but that’s another recipe. SAM

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon minced shallots
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely shredded
2 ounces small green, uncooked asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
3 ounces cress or mixed salad greens
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a small glass, combine the lemon juice, mustard, honey, and shallots. Slowly add the oil, whisking until smooth. In a large salad bowl, marinate the carrots and asparagus in the lemon-mustard vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes. Add the salad greens and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper.
Makes 2 servings.

Okra-Tomato Salad

August 29, 2007


I can hear it now, cries from around the globe: ‘Cold fried okra? Are you serious?’ You bet I am. Leftover fried okra is fabulous in salads. The cornmeal adds a nutty crunch. And the richness of the okra takes tomatoes and lettuce to an entirely new dimension. Those of us in the rest of the world have a lot to thank Africa for, and okra is right at the top of the list. SAM

12 large cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (3-inch) cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
6 tablespoons Mustard Vinaigrette, divided
3 ounces arugula or mixed salad greens
4 heaping tablespoons cold Fried Okra
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
Toasted pumpkin seeds and/or crumbled cooked bacon

In a large salad bowl, marinate the tomatoes and cucumber in 1 tablespoon vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes. Add the salad greens, okra, and pepper and gently toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and/or bacon.
Makes 4 servings.

Zucchini Carpaccio

August 15, 2007


Here’s another fabulous way to serve summer zucchini. If you have a very sharp knife and fine motor control, you can slice them by hand. Otherwise, you’ll need a slicer, like a mandoline or the inexpensive and wonderful Feemster Slicer. You can serve Zucchini Carpaccio on their own, or add avocado or tomato for a larger salad. SAM

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
8 (4 to 5-inch/2-ounce) zucchini, trimmed
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
Chopped parsley
Shaved Parmesan

In a small glass, whisk together the vinegar, oil, and salt. With a slicer or sharp knife, cut the zucchini into very thin strips. Spread on a plate and drizzle with the vinegar mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Arrange on salad plates with the marinade and top with pine nuts, parsley, and Parmesan.
Makes 4 servings.

Corn-Tomato Salad

August 9, 2007


When the temperature nears 100 F, salad is the only sensible thing to eat. Now that we have Steamed Corn and Sweated Onions down pat, we’re making a summer salad so good even the juices in the bottom of the bowl turn into a sublime gazpacho. Hmmmmm … is there another recipe in here somewhere? SAM

2 ears fresh corn-on-the-cob, steamed and cut off the cob
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 large marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sweated onions
1 tablespoon fresh fennel fronds, snipped
3 ounces romaine lettuce or mixed salad greens
Mustard Vinaigrette
Freshly ground white peppercorns to taste
Toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds and/or crumbled cooked bacon

In a salad bowl, combine the corn, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions, and fennel. Add the salad greens and gently toss with vinaigrette. Serve, sprinkled with pepper, pumpkin or sunflower seeds and/or bacon.
Makes 2 entrée or 4 salad servings.

Caraway Coleslaw

August 1, 2007


This is the Greek salad of coleslaw. The caraway seeds add a layered, smoky dimension that’s wonderful with the cabbage and feta. Add a pickled pepper or two and you’ll be in heaven. SAM

1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound cabbage, finely shredded (2 cups)
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced (1 cup)
1 large yellow bell pepper, finely diced (1 cup)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

In a large Dutch oven or chef’s pan, combine the caraway seed, mustard, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Heat to boiling, add the cabbage and bell peppers, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a salad bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve sprinkled with feta cheese.
Makes 8 servings.

Macaroni Salad

July 26, 2007


On hot summer days, turn your favorite mac-and-cheese into a cool, refreshing salad. True, we’re adding salad-like things. And there’s not a lot a cheese. But the old, sweet comfort of macaroni is definitely the same—maybe better. ‘Come winter, we’ll figure out a way to bake macaroni salad. Hmmmm, that sounds good! SAM

8 ounces uncooked macaroni
6 large green onions and tops, thinly sliced, with 2 tablespoons of the tops reserved for garnish (3/4 cup)
2 hard-cooked eggs, roughly chopped
2 medium center ribs celery with leaves, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1 (2-ounce) jar pimientos, sliced and drained
1/2 cup dill pickle relish, drained with 2 teaspoons of juice reserved
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package and drain. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, onions less the reserved tops, eggs, celery, bacon, Parmesan, pimientos, and relish. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, and reserved relish juice. Stir into the macaroni mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with paprika and the reserved onion tops.
Makes 6 servings.

Killed Lettuce with Toasted Sesame Seeds

June 16, 2007


Killed lettuce is an old Southern specialty. A Mississippi or Alabama cook, of course, would use the hot bacon dressing from yesterday’s green bean recipe. Substitute that anytime you want, but try this one first. The toasted sesame seeds add a nutty richness to the hot oil and vinegar—all in all, the perfect murder. SAM

2 heads Bibb lettuce, torn
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce and tomatoes and set aside. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden, stirring constantly. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and heat just to boiling. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix. Serve at once.
Makes 4 servings.