Summer Salads II

by Mark R. Vogel

            Salads are classic summer fare.  Cool and light, they’re great for beating the heat as well as those bathing suit woes.  A couple of tips when preparing salads:  Soak the greens in cold water for 15-20 minutes.  Not only does this help wash them, it will increase their crispness to some degree.  Always use a salad spinner.  The water on wet greens will dilute your dressing and prevent it from sticking to them as well.  Make the dressing and toss it with the salad just before service.  Salads soaking in their dressing will wilt. 

 

TOMATO & COUSCOUS SALAD

 

2 cans chick peas, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked couscous

2 tomatoes, chopped

5 scallions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Handful of basil chiffonade

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

            Combine the peas, couscous, tomatoes, scallions, garlic, and basil.  In a bowl whisk the lemon juice with salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the olive oil, constantly whisking, until it is completely incorporated.  Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

 

CLEMENTINE ORANGE & FENNEL SALAD

 

6 Clementine oranges (or substitute tangerines), cut into supremes, (see below).

1 large fennel bulb

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

Fennel fronds, as needed

Parsley, chopped, to taste

4 tablespoons orange juice

Salt & pepper to taste

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

            To make orange supremes, or any citrus fruit for that matter, take the heel of a chef’s knife and slice the fruit, between the skin and the flesh, in a curving stroke, from its north pole to its south.  You want to remove all of the rind while losing the least amount of flesh.  Once the rind is removed you will be able to see thin sheets of the pith which separate the fruit’s segments.  Slice the sides of the segments right next to the pith and remove them.  This will produce clean segments of flesh devoid of any skin. 

            Cut some of the fennel fronds off.  The fronds are the tiny green leaves at the top of the stalk.  Cut off the bulb and remove its outer layer if it is brown or discolored.  Cut the bulb in half and then cut it crosswise into thin strips.  Mix the oranges, fennel, fennel seeds, fennel fronds, and parsley. 

            In a bowl whisk the orange juice with salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the olive oil, constantly whisking, until it is completely incorporated.  Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

 

SPINACH AND STRING BEAN SALAD WITH AVOCADO OIL DRESSING

 

Half pound green beans, trimmed and blanched.

3 hard cooked eggs, chopped or thinly sliced

4 oz. baby spinach leaves

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

3 plum tomatoes, sliced vertically, and then cut crosswise.

Handful of basil chiffonade

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste.

6 tablespoons avocado oil, (or substitute olive oil)

 

            Trim the ends off the green beans and blanch in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness.  Immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking.  For perfectly hard cooked eggs, immerse the eggs in cold water, covered, and bring to a boil.  As soon as the water boils remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs steep for exactly 12 minutes, covered.  Run cold water over the eggs to cool them.  Combine the beans, eggs, spinach, onion, tomatoes, and basil.

            For the dressing, run the garlic cloves through a garlic press.  Otherwise mince them very finely.  Whisk the garlic in the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the oil, constantly whisking, until it is completely incorporated.  Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

 

HONEYDEW MELON SALAD WITH SPUMANTE VINAIGRETTE

 

1 fennel bulb

Half a ripe honeydew melon

1 lb.  mixed salad greens

1 small red onion, sliced

Chervil, chopped to taste

Parsley, chopped to taste

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest from one lemon

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

2 oz. Spumante sparkling wine

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Half cup extra virgin olive oil

 

            Remove the outer layers of the fennel bulb if it is brown or discolored.  Cut the bulb in half and then cut it crosswise into thin strips.  Slice the melon into thin strips.  Combine the fennel, melon, greens, onion and herbs.  Whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, Spumante, honey, salt and pepper.  Drizzle in the oil, constantly whisking, until it is completely incorporated.  Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

 

 

 

 

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