Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ONE PLATE. EIGHT SALADS.

(SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS ABOUT ALL EIGHT SALADS)

Have you ever looked your eight-year-old son in the eye and said: Dude, I'm hungry, please pass the salade composée? Me neither. But we've been making them all month. It just means arranged. As in less rambunctious than a tossed salad. More controlled. Layered. At least that's what I've been telling myself.

Some cool things about structuring salads this way:

1. They're hella pretty.
2. You can layer your greens with the fruit or nuts or cheese and then set the plate aside for 30 minutes or so (in the fridge if it's hot). There's no rush to serve it because the greens won't get soggy. Right before putting it on the table, sprinkle everything with coarse salt and chopped herbs. You can splash the dressing on the salad. Or you can pass the dressing on the side. 
3. Since you're not tossing, all the layers will stay intact and beautiful. You can fill grilled peaches with goat cheese, nestle in broiled dates wrapped in bacon, add any kind of crumbly or delicate cheese.
4. You see more of the salad. Nothing gets lost in the bottom of the bowl.
5. A large version of any of these salads can be a main course for dinner. Especially good on a hot summer night.

Like most recipes I develop, these are templates. Mix and match any which way you like. I've given approximate measurements for each salad dressing. Start with a kick ass powerful base like garlic or anchovy or lemon zest (or all three). Then whisk together (or shake in a jar) 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil to 1 part acid (lemon, lime, or vinegar). Use Dijon mustard, crème fraîche, heavy cream, mayonnaise or an egg to emulsify. Or not. Shaking the shit out of most dressings will bring them together eventually (give this job to a kid). The most important step is to taste your dressing. Don't trust my measurements. Don't trust anyone. Trust yourself. I always adjust the balance several times. I usually add my coarse salt (fleur de sel or grey or pink Hawaiian) at the end to the prepared salad, but feel free to incorporate it into the dressing (it bashes nicely with a clove of garlic). There are many paths.

CABBAGE, KALE, APPLE, AND PECAN SALAD WITH CREAMY CITRUS VINAIGRETTE
Layers: Thinly sliced Napa cabbage, massaged kale, julienned apples, toasted pecans, chopped parsley, coarse salt, pepper.
Dressing: With a mortar and pestle, make a paste out of 2 cloves of garlic and 2 boquerones. Add a raw (or coddled) egg and whisk until smooth. Whisk in juice/zest of 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon creamy whole milk yogurt or crème fraîche.

ARUGULA, PIAVE, AND PEACH SALAD WITH THICK BALSAMIC, LEMON, AND GARLIC OIL

Layers: Arugula, Piave cheese (alternates: parmesan, manchego, asiago), peeled/halved/pitted/sliced peaches, coarse salt, pepper.
Dressing: In a jar, shake together 3 tablespoons garlic oil (let a bashed clove of garlic sit in some olive oil overnight), juice/zest of 1/2 lemon, and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Finish with a generous drizzle of thick balsamic (I buy inexpensive balsamic and reduce it down a bit more than halfway).

AVOCADO AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD WITH SHALLOT HERB VINAIGRETTE

Layers: Avocado slices, tomato slices, coarse salt, pepper.
Dressing: With a mortar and pestle, bash 2 cloves garlic with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt until it makes a paste. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon Grey Poupon mustard. Slowly whisk in 4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Add 3 tablespoons chopped herbs (any combination of parsley, mint, and cilantro).

ROMAINE, ROASTED BABY TOMATOES, AND HUMBOLDT FOG SALAD WITH PESTO DRESSING

Layers: Romaine, massaged kale, roasted cherry tomatoes (halved and cooked with olive oil/balsamic/salt/thyme at 350°F for 30 minutes), cold Humboldt Fog goat cheese (crumbled with rind removed), coarse salt, pepper.
Dressing: 2 tablespoons of any kind of pesto whisked with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Thin it out with more olive oil if you need to. Or a few splashes of white wine vinegar.

RADISH, HERB, AND FETA SALAD WITH CITRUS DRESSING 
Layers: Thinly sliced radishes, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta, mint, basil, opal basil, coarse salt.
Dressing: In a jar, combine and leave for a few hours or overnight: 1 cup olive oil, a few lemon wedges, 2 cloves bashed garlic, a few sprigs of thyme. The next day, pour off 6 tablespoons olive oil into another jar and shake it with 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 2 teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard. Add more olive oil to the remaining garlic and lemon oil and save it for up to a few days in the fridge. adding more oil as needed.

ENDIVE, PICKLED RADISH, PARSLEY, ALEPPO BREAD CRUMBS, AND PARMESAN SALAD WITH LIME DRESSING
Layers: Endive, pickled radishes, parmesan wisps (I use my potato peeler), whole parsley leaves, Aleppo brown butter bread crumbs (melt a few anchovies into a teaspoon of butter, toss in bread crumbs with a pinch of Aleppo pepper, stir/toast for one minute, cool), pepper, coarse salt.
Dressing: In a jar, shake the heck out of 6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, 2 teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard. 

ROMAINE, MOZZARELLA, BACON, BROWN BUTTER CORN, GARLIC CRISPS, AND MOZZARELLA SALAD WITH PICKLED FRESNO CHILES AND GARLIC LIME VINAIGRETTE
LayersHearts of romaine, sliced buffalo mozzarella, crispy bacon, buttery corn (cut off cob and sautéed for one minute in brown butter with a large pinch of salt), pickled Fresno chiles (to make a jarful: slice 6 chiles in half, remove seeds, dice, boil for 1 minute in mixture of 1 cup white vinegar/1 teaspoon kosher salt/2 teaspoons sugar), garlic crisps (fry four thinly sliced garlic cloves in 4 tablespoons hot olive oil for about a minute and then reserve the oil for the dressing), chiffonade of basil leaves, pepper, coarse salt.
Dressing: Shake in a jar: reserved garlic oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar, 2 teaspoons Grey Poupon mustard. 
Drink: Hendrick's martini straight up with olives

BUTTER LETTUCE, GOAT CHEESE-FILLED PEACHES, AVOCADO, ALMOND SALAD WITH SHERRY WINE VINEGAR DRESSING

Layers: Butter lettuce, grilled peaches filled with goat cheese (or broiled), avocado, toasted almond slivers, chopped parsley and chives.
Dressing: Combine 1 tablespoon finely diced shallots with 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes. Whisk in your favorite grainy Dijon mustard. Slowly whisk in 4-6 tablespoons olive oil. If it needs a little extra help emulsifying, shake it in a jar.

9 comments:

  1. love that you aren't afraid to make punchy dressings- they're so much better than the too sweet/too oily ones.

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  2. These are all such lovely and fresh looking salads! I especially love the arugula peach one!

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    1. The peach arugula one is one of my favorites. And the easiest!

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  3. That looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Greetings and a lovely day from Germany,

    http://www.fatcatconnection.com

    Lisa

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  4. WOW. I want to try them all. Have an awesome Friday and a great weekend. HUGS
    Sarah

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  5. I made the Cabage/Kale salad for a book club gathering this weekend and it was awesome! I had to use anchovies instead of boquerones, but the dressing was still fantastic. It made enough that I have some left over for lunches this week. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

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  6. Your salad recipes look so pretty! And I bet they also taste amazing. I love how you got creative with the salad ingredients and dressings; it’s not just your usual greens and tomatoes. Looks like you are not afraid to play with your taste buds and be daring. Kudos to you!

    Teri Harris @ CaigerAndCoCatering

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  7. Yum!! Your salad recipe was so interesting. I just got stuck on this post and would love to try it out. Hey I need some recipes for herbal Green energy drinks too. I wonder if you have any good recipes for me!!

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