Friday, May 6, 2011

Salad Kick

It's been a salad kind of week - inspired in large part by my girl Marth - and I have three tasty versions to share!  Two can stand on their own as a main course in my opinion.  The third, no less yummy, I think does great nestled next to something a bit more substantial.

Salad # 1 
Panzanella  Click here for recipe

While the veggies are lovely and inspiring, I can't lie that the toasted (or grilled in this case, thanks to hub) bread steals the show....especially bathed in vinaigrette.  I mean, come on.  Speaking of the dressing, I really prefer red wine vinegar to champagne vinegar in this recipe. 

This salad is quick, (relatively?) healthy and fabulous enjoyed outside with a glass of whatever.

Salad # 2
New Spinach Salad (recipe at end of post)

The latest Martha Stewart Living offers a section on classic salads reinvented.  The bright colors of the photo layout brought on a craving for veggies and led me to select two to try this week!  The new take on spinach salad is straight up awesome.  In lieu of bacon, the recipe brilliantly calls for sliced chorizo, which I am wild about.  We met and fell in love over breakfast in Mexico when my eggs were cooked and served alongside its spicy goodness; I have kind of been stalking it ever since.  I love the creative approach to this salad, especially the dressing technique.  The yum-infused oil that cooks the fingerling potatoes and chorizo becomes the base of the dressing, which is completed with chopped shallots, sherry vinegar and seasoning.  The hard boiled egg is replaced with a poached egg in this dish, which admittedly is not everyone's cup of tea.  I personally found it absolutely perfect on this salad, and actually chose to celebrate it a bit with the addition of toasted crostini to sop up every last bit.  Yay little poached egg.

Salad #3
New Waldorf Salad (recipe at end of post)

I tragically have no photo of salad #3, which was another deliciously reinvented classic from the same article.  This salad replaces the signature mayo base with a tangy vinaigrette.  The best part though was roasted red grapes, which were a first for me, and most certainly will not be the last.  Roasting imparts complexity in the fruit's flavor and mellows the bright sweetness to something subtle and somehow rich at the same time.   This topic leads me another component of the salad: the walnuts.  Don't skip the toasting part!  It makes an incredible difference and is more than worth it.  By the way, I swapped the frisee for mixed greens.  I don't love frisee, and further, I look like a fool eating it.  I can't seem to get a good bite in without a piece unattractively protruding from my mouth, requiring an awkward and sheepish retrieval.  Not that I wish this unfortunate predicament on anyone, but I kind of hope I'm not the only one with this issue?  Regardless, be advised that mixed greens work fine here.  Am I still talking?

The recipes:

New Waldorf Salad, courtesy of Martha Stewart

For the roasted grapes:
1 1/2 lbs red seedless grapes
1 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil

For the dressing:
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise
1 head frisee
1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

1.  Roast the grapes:  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toss grapes with sugar and oil.  Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until just starting to wrinkle and burst, 25-30 minutes.  Let cool.
2.  Meanwhile, make the dressing: combine shallot, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, and cumin in a bowl.  Gradually whisk in oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3.  Make the salad: toss the grapes (without pan juices) with sliced celery, frisee, apple, and walnuts.  Drizzle salad with dressing, and toss to coat.

New Spinach Salad, courtesy of Martha Stewart

For the poached eggs:
1 Tbsp white vinegar
4 large eggs

For the salad:
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 fingerling potatoes (about 12 oz), blanched and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
5 oz baby spinach
2 links (not dried) chorizo, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp minced shallot
1 Tbsp shery vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Poach the eggs:  add vinegar to a large saucepan of simmering water.  Crack eggs into the water, one at a time.  Poach eggs until whites are set but yokes are still runny, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate using a slotted spoon.
2.  Make the salad:  heat 2 Tbsp oil in a high-sided skillet over medium heat.  Cook potatoes until golden, about 6 minutes per side.  Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon, and add spinach.  Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet.  Cook chorizo until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Add to bowl using slotted spoon.
3.  Make the dressing:  remove skillet from heat.  Add shallot and let cook for 30 seconds.  Swirl in vinegar.
4.  Pour dressing over salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Divide salad among 4 plates.  Top each with an egg. 


Courtney said...

tried the spinach salad, except with kale b/c that's what we had....and LOVED the poached egg with it. so yummy.

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