It’s summer here in the Big Apple, we’re having some hot and humid days filled with spotty afternoon thunderstorms. I’ll say it again, just like I said after a hurricane here in NYC, I left Florida to get away from this weather, why after all these years has it followed me to the great state of New York????
During these times we crave cooler, quicker, lighter meals, not bland necessarily, just lighter. And not typical Rabbit Food lettuce or greens and dressings! Need some substantial ingredients and even a few odder combos. Thus, I’ve taken on the challenge of creating a few new variations of salad recipes that I’ve amassed over the last few years and stored in a cookbook on my computer called “Summer Foods”.
First up this week was the Twisted BLT:
Diced crispy Bacon, Herbed Bread cubes sauteed in the Bacon Fat, Grape Tomatoes blistered in Olive Oil and doused in Vermouth (briefly flambeed), grilled split Romaine Heads, all tossed with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese then drizzled with Balsamic Glaze.
For a side to this I served a pasta salad:
Barilla’s Veggie (Carrot & Squash) Farfalle and Veggie (Spinach & Zucchini) Rotini tossed with chopped radishes, red bell pepper, celery, and scallions, dressed with Parsley & Horseradish Aioli.
Two very successful incarnations.
Another was a Soba Noodle with Spicy Peanut Dressing, shredded carrot, chopped bell peppers, radish slices and chunks of cucumber, sliced spring onions and cilantro. A very flexible dish, add whatever you have on hand in terms of veggies, even corn and peas would be good, as would water chestnuts, pea pods and bean sprouts. I have also made a very quick one using bagged broccoli slaw!
Cooling and refreshing:
A side salad to grilled Chicken Breasts was Watermelon cubes tossed with Lime Pickled Red Onion, Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese over Arugula, lightly dressed with Lime Juice and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.
Egg and Bacon Salad:
Arugula, Diced Bacon, sliced Roasted Beet, goat cheese crumbles and dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette and topped with a Fried Egg!
Chopped Salad for a meal:
A favorite–another flexible salad based on what’s in the fridge. Last week’s used up some chilled leftover Chopped Romaine Leaves, Ricotta Salata, Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs, Roasted Potatoes, Scallions, a variety of Olives, Scallions, Celery, Carrots, Bell Peppers, and Roasted Chickpeas dressed with Red Wine Vinaigrette.
Watermelon Gazpacho–watermelon, tomato, cucumber, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garnished with mint and feta cheese. Very refreshing but could use some tweaking, like a touch of onion and maybe jalapeno for hint of heat.
Tonight I made a Lemony Cucumber Salad with thinly sliced Cucumbers, Radishes, Spring Onion, Chopped Orange Bell Pepper, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Lemon Pepper w/Sea Salt, Olive Oil and tons of Mint. Very cooling.
Served it with this sandwich:
Grilled Zucchini, Prosciutto, sliced fresh Mozzarella, sliced Beefsteak Tomato, Basil Leaf on grilled Ciabatta rolls spread with Pistachio Basil Pesto Mayo. Marinated the Zucchini in Olive Oil and Tuscan Herbs before grilling, placed the folded Prosciutto slices on top of zucchini for last few seconds of grilled, flipped it once to get a few marks on the meat. Combined 1 tablespoon of Pesto with 1 tablespoon mayonaisse for two sandwiches.
Stay tuned for more fun and tasty summer concoctions!
Eat Well…Be Well!