Tag Archives: salad

Grilled Salmon Salad

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As good as this salmon was… the salad was the star.

We marinaded the salmon in a makeshift teriyaki (sugar-soy-water-sake) for several hours before seasoning it and grilling it.

We roasted halved little potatoes in the oven.

And grilled a romaine head, sliced in half lengthwise.

While the salmon was resting we assembled the salad by chopping the grilled romaine, and tossing with halved grape tomatoes, roasted potatoes, and sliced cooked bacon.  Then tossed the whole thing with a lemon vinegarette (lemon-oil-salt-pepper).

Together it was wonderfully fresh and flavorful.  We loved the smokey grill with wilted bits and charred bits in the lettuce.  The roasted potato and bacon were the perfect complement.  It was a healthful, delicious supper.

 

 

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Steak salad

Now I wish I had taken a photo!

Who would ‘a thunk a salad could be so good?  It wasn’t just the perfectly cooked ribeye, charred to medium rare and seasoned perfectly… or the mix of fresh greens, wonderful creamy goat cheese, and fresh tomatoes.  It was that dressing.

What they say is true… necessity is the mother of invention.  I’m starting to fully realize that statement.  When you don’t have the right ingredients you make do.  I wanted to make a lovely cucumber jalapeño ranch I like to make for the beef salad.  But I didn’t have any cucumber… or ranch.  So I made do with what I had…. and now here I am blogging about it, because I want to remember the recipe myself.

The dressing was so simple (approximate measures):

  • 1T mayonaise
  • 1T dijon mustard
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno
  • salt, pepper

Simple and delicious, and perfect over the steak salad with the creamy goat cheese (or Boursin) to cut the spicy jalapeño.

 

Beef Salad with Cucumber-Jalapeno Ranch

We have a lot of guests over.  So I appreciate a nice salad once they are gone.  These nice salads are great light meals, or wonderful company lunches.

I’m not generally one to buy ‘canned’ stuff, I tend to make most everything from scratch.  But admittedly, sometimes it’s just nice to press the EASY button.  My neighbor, Pat, turned me on to this packaged marinaded meat at Costco.  It’s Bill Bailey’s Carne Asada.  It’s pre-marinaded tri-tip steak that is thin sliced and ready to go.  All you have to do is throw it on the grill and cook to your desired doneness.  (Alternatively you could use steak, pound down to 1/4″ thick, marinade in a mixture of salt, lemon, lime, garlic, and a tablespoon of oil.)

So we made up a truly amazing dressing to go with it and some cucumber pickle and had a really great salad. We cut a romaine lettuce in half, leaving the core intact, drizzled with olive oil and salt and grilled the romaine along side the marinaded beef.  Grilled lettuce?!  YES!  It gives a great char and smokiness to the salad.

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Cucumber – Jalapeno Ranch dressing

  • 1 T. dijon mustard
  • 2T olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 heaping T mayonaise
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Ranch dressing powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor with 1/4 peeled, chopped cucumber + 1 – 2 jalapeno’s (remove stem and seeds) + small bunch of fresh cilantro.  Pulse until completely liouidous.  Adjust to your taste.

Cucumber pickle

  • Slice half a peeled cucumber very thin.
  • Toss with
    • 1 T. sugar
    •  1 T. salt
    • a pinch of red pepper flake
    • a splash of wine wine or rice vinegar
    • 1 T. olive oil
  • Allow to sit room temperature for 10 -20 mintues.
  • Strain with slotted spoon and serve over salad

Assemble grilled lettuce, grilled meat, cucumber pickle, and sliced tomatoes on plate.

Drizzle with cucumber-jalapeno ranch dressing.

We’ll be making this again!  Excellent salad.

Roasted Radishes

Have you had roasted radishes?  I hadn’t until recently… but I’m a new fan.  I swear, you can roast anything and it deepens the flavor.  I never thought of roasting radishes though. Some don’t like radishes, and admittedly, I was one that didn’t.  Yet I have come to like the spicy crunch they lend to a salad.  Jacques Pepin advocates serving them with a smear of soft butter and sprinkling of sea salt.. maybe it was that preparation that changed my mind.  But no matter, even if you don’t like raw radish; roasting radishes is a beast of another kind.

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Simply roasted at 400F for 20 minutes with a sprinkling of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, these roasted radishes are creamy, crisp, and delicious.  They are transformed into an entire different vegetable when roasted.

I served them with a toss of mixed greens and herbs, a fine dice of red peppers, and a crispy fried salami.  I plated the salad on top of a generous smear of salsa verde for a bright freshness.

Salsa Verde:

In a blender or mini food processor blend

  • cilantro
  • garlic
  • green onion
  • jalapeno
  • capers
  • olive oil
  • salt

Chicken & Egg

This is where I’m supposed to crack a joke about which came first.   Why choose.. have both!  I love eggs… any way you cook them… and chicken.

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So I boned out a chicken and fried up the skin in a 400F oven until crisp and served it on top as cracklings.

I pounded down the chicken pieces (thighs and breasts), seasoned them and then breaded them.  First in flour, then egg wash, then seasoned panko bread crumbs.  I fried them in ample hot oil in a pan until golden brown on both sides.

While they were frying I mixed up a nice salad of fresh mixed greens with a lemony mustard vinegarette, some tomatoes, nuts, and fresh radish.  I put the fried chicken cutlet on the plate first, then topped with the salad.. and then a fried egg.  Finally on top I sprinkled crushed cracklings (or use sautéed bread crumbs).

The salad gave the perfect balance and vinegar-y edge to the rich fried cutlet.  I love the crunch and tenderness of the chicken… and then the runny egg oozing throughout lended the perfect creaminess.

Yep… chicken AND the egg.  Why not?

Scallop Romesco

I earlier posted a review of Restaurant Social in Costa Mesa, CA, and I have mentioned that a good trip is one where you come home with good inspiration (for food or products incidentally).  Well, this dish ‘Spanish Octopus’ we had at Social, was truly inspirational.  It was so full of flavor and absolutely delicious, I knew the moment I tasted it that I had to make it at home.

SOCIAL octopus_Ssi.JPGSOCIAL’s  Spanish Octopus

I can hardly call this copying Social’s recipe or even replicating, as I made so many substitutions and personal additions and derivatives, that it only merely resembles the original. For starters, I used scallops instead of octopus, and brussel sprouts instead of frisee, and added mushrooms.

scallop romesco_Ssi.JPG Kathy’s version of SOCIAL’s Spanish Octopus, ‘Scallop Romesco’

To make the romesco ‘swipe’ on the bottom of the dish I put in a food processor: roasted almonds, toasted bread, roasted red bell pepper, roasted tomato, re-hydrated guajillo chile- toasted, hot spanish paprika, garlic, sherry wine vinegar, olive oil, salt to taste, touch of chile soaking liquid.  Then pulsed to puree.

In a pan I sautéed onion, garlic, diced chorizo (Pamplona brand), sliced oyster mushroom.  I then seasoned and added small bay scallops until cooked through.   Just before removing from the heat (so only briefly sautéed), I add sliced rings of baby red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, along with jalapeño rings and julienned spinach.  Once my saute was complete, I tossed with a dressing of sherry wine vinegar, mustard, and olive oil.  Then I added halved / roasted fingerling potatoes which were baking in the oven (400F / 20 min).  And topped with brussel sprout shred.

The SOCIAL version tops with chicharrones and gremolata.

So how was it, you ask?  What do they say… the bomb!  It was amazing.  FULL of flavor, spice, crunch, and texture.  It was great.  I would definitely make again… maybe even add the chicharrones and gremolata on top for crunch and balance.  I would use shrimp the next time instead of scallops.  While the scallops were delicious, tender, and succulent on their own… they were completely lost in the sea of strong spicy flavors of the chorizo, romesco, and sherry wine vinaigrette.

 

 

Brussel Sprout Salad

For me the measure of a good trip is two-fold.  I know, it’s ‘did you have a good time’?  But for me I had a good time if (1) I got good photographs, and (2) if I had good meals… added bonus, if I left with inspiration to make great meals at home.

Granted fun activities always add to the depth of any good holiday.  Yet, somehow our activities always find us in some food market, farmer’s market, or specialty stores.

During our recent trip to California we came home with all kinds of inspiration, and have been eating well since our return.  This particular salad was inspired by both Mozza and Social in Costa Mesa.. yet to be fair is nothing like either salad that each restaurant offered.  Nonetheless, their salad gave the inspiration for this yummy salad.

If you don’t like brussel sprouts, this salad will convert you.  If you’re just not willing to give them a try, shredded romaine lettuce would work equally well.  I cut the hard core ends off, then shredded the brussel sprouts into a pile of fine threads.   Meanwhile I made a Caesar dressing with homemade mayo (egg yolk, lemon, mustard, olive oil), anchovy diced, more mustard, olive oil, and lemon + finely grated parmesan.

With the shredded brussel sprouts and dressing standing by, I grated a pile of parmesan and a pile of finely grated jamon.  I toasted some panko bread crumbs with a little salt and parsley until nice and toasty brown.

Now I was ready to assemble and serve.  I tossed the brussel sprout threads with the dressing, and add a few halved grape tomatoes.  I piled the salad high on a plate… then put the finely grated parmesan, jamon, and bread crumbs on top…. and wa-la.

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I served it with sautéed shrimp around the salad.  I loved the crunch of the bread crumbs, and the saltiness of the parmesan and jamon.  It was great.  I’d definitely make again.