Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Salad - Its What's for Dinner.

I am very fortunate to not only have married a non-picky-eater, but also a man who LOVES vegetables.  If I'm at a loss for what to make for dinner and ask Joe what I should cook, I undoubtedly get the same answer:  "Can you make dinner salads?"

We probably eat dinner salads once a week.  Usually, its just a combination of whatever produce/protein I have in the fridge, but sometimes I plan ahead and come up with something worth remembering.

Some recent salads (that I remembered to photograph before we chowed down)...  BTW - I left my favorite for last.

(All recipes serve 2 unless specified.)

Locally-Grown Spinach with Grilled Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Brussels Sprouts, Avocado and Grilled Salmon

Sweet potatoes:  I scrubbed one and sliced it on my mandolin, then brushed with EVOO, grilled the slices, and diced.
Brussels Sprouts:  I halved them, skewered them, and drizzled them with melted butter and lemon juice then grilled/cut.
Salmon:  rubbed with dijon and topped with generous black pepper than grilled on oiled foil.
Served with Gorgonzola-Balsamic Vinaigrette (store-bought).

Shrimp Caesar Salad (adapted from an everyday Food recipe)
Skewers:   I tossed about ~16 thawed peeled/devained medium shrimp with 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 TB EVOO, the zest of 1/2 a lemon, and fresh pepper.  Then I tossed ~20 1 inch French bread cubes (I used 4 French Rolls) with 1 TB EVOO and pepper.  I skewered them and then cooked them on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven for about 7 minutes (until shrimp was cooked).
Caesar:  I mixed 1 clove crushed garlic, 2 TB fresh lemon juice, 2 TB EVOO, 1 tsp Dijon, and 1 small squeeze anchovy paste (<1/4 tsp) in a salad bowl, whisked, added ~ 4 cups romaine lettuce and tossed.

 Romaine Salad with Shrimp, Mango, Avocado, and Cucumbers
Topped with sliced almonds.  Served with balsamic vinaigrette.  The avocado and mango go amazingly well together!

Salad with Red Veggies
Romaine with tomatoes, pickled beets, radishes, and herbed Feta.  Served with EVOO and red wine vinegar.

Pickled Beets - scrub the beets, peel, and slice.  Boil until tender.  Marinate in red wine vinegar and sugar.  Its also possible to boil the beets whole and then rub the skins off (with rubber gloves on).

And last but not least, my FAVORITE salad of the summer (and of course, its from everyday Food magazine...small changes from the original though)!  Pictures of a few steps included...

Arugula, Chicken and Rice Salad (serves 4)
Cook 4 servings of Jasmine rice according to the directions (I found brown Jasmine - yum!).
Marinate and grill 2 chicken breasts.  Chop.
Slice 1 pint of Heirloom cherry tomatoes in half (or regular cherry tomatoes - the Heirloom were on sale at the store and they're sooo pretty!).  Slice a small bunch of green onions.  Toss with the tomatoes.  (I often keep a few onions to the side to garnish the salad with.)  Add to the chopped chicken.  Add cooked rice.
Blend 3 cups of fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, and sage leaves) with 3 Tb white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar) and 2 Tb EVOO.  Gradually add about 1/4 cup of cold water.  Blend as you go.  The goal is to get a smooth, pourable dressing (use water if needed).  Season with black pepper.
Toss 1 clamshell (typically 5 oz) of arugula with 1/2 of the dressing.  Add the remaining dressing to the rice/chicken mixture.  Toss.  Divide arugula among the plates.  Top with generous scoops of the chicken and rice salad.  Top with remaining green onions.  Enjoy!

If you're only serving 2 people at a time, only dress half of the arugula at a time.  Store remaining arugula and dressing separately until time to serve.

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