5 June 2014

Six Sexy Salads for Summer

It’s a bit in and out weather-wise here today but nevertheless I’m going to write about salad.  It is June after all!  Here are six of my favourites.

Peppered Steak Salad with 2 dressings! 

This is probably my most successful salad ever, it became some popular that people would order it even if it wasn’t on the menu!  That didn’t really phase me because it is quick and easy and as I always kept the trimmings when I prepared steaks then there were usually a few around.  If not I cut up a steak and added the remainder to my collection.

steak or steak trimmings
salt
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
a little olive oil
salad leaves
Balsamic-Dijon Vinaigrette – bought in or homemade
Brandy
double dream

~   Cut the steak across the grain into strip about 5mm thick.
~   Toss salad leaves in a little vinaigrette to coat.
~   Season the steak with a little salt and then with lot of black pepper as this pretty well the point of the dish!
~   Heat the oil in a hot pan then sear the steak which will be all it needs to cook to medium-ish. Set the steak aside whilst finishing the sauce.
~    Add a tablespoon or so of brandy to the pan (carefully and if using gas do this away from the flame) and then add enough cream to make a small sauce and simmer for a minute or so till thick.
~   Arrange the dressed leaves on a plate, the steak on the salad and then drizzle with the sauce.
~   Eat immediately with good bread.


Roasted Carrot & Pecan Salad

A few months ago I “discovered” Chantenay carrots and the best thing I like about them is how lovely they are roasted – just topped and tailed, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted, covered with foil, for about 45 mins then uncovered and cooked a bit more till caramelised.  

Roasted Chantenay carrots make a wonderful salad warm or cold tossed with a few toasted pecans and tender leaves and then drizzled with balsamic glaze. You can make this glaze yourself by boiling down balsamic vinegar to about a quarter of its volume and sweetening with honey but it is easier and less smelly to buy it.  Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and crunchy sea salt.


Panzanella

This is a Tuscan salad made from bread, tomatoes and other good stuff.  Per person you need ...

1 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
100g ripe tomatoes – coarsely chopped
half a small red onion
a little crushed garlic
1 slice of good country bread

~   Mix together all the ingredients except the bread mashing slightly so that the tomatoes release their juices.
~   Toast the bread till crisp, golden and maybe just starting to char a little!
~   Cool the bread, tear into pieces and stir into the tomato mixture.
~   Set aside for about 10 minutes, the aim is to have some of the bread soft and juicy and some of it still crisp.


According to Love Food Hate Waste we in the UK throw away 24 million (!!!!!) slices of bread a day.  What is wrong with people?  Panzanella is just one of 20 or more recipes for leftover bread in "The Leftovers Handbook" – and that’s just scratching the surface.

Grilled Lettuce with Warm Bacon-Balsamic Dressing – serves 2

This is quite posh but easy!

1 little gem lettuce cut in half lengthwise
3 tbsp olive oil* plus a little extra
2 rashers of smoky bacon in small dice
½ tsp runny honey
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a handful freshly grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

~   In a small pan cook the bacon in the 3 tbsp olive oil till it is crisp and golden.
~   Lift the bacon from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen roll.
~   Allow the olive oil to cook slightly then stir in the honey and vinegar.
~   Set aside for a few minutes whilst cooking the lettuce.
~   Pre-heat a grill pan, griddle or frying pan to good and hot.
~   Lightly coat the cut side of the lettuce with fresh olive oil.
~   Season and cook cut side to the heat for a few minutes till turning golden.  Do not cook the other side.
~   Serve the lettuce cut side up, drizzled with the warm dressing and sprinkled with crispy bacon and parmesan.  Grind over a plentiful grind of black pepper.


*  As you may have realised this is really great, in a way, with bacon fat instead of olive oil.

Lemony Salmon Salad

This is good if you cook too much salmon as I often do – eyes bigger than my head syndrome. Not so much a recipe – more an idea.  Make a simple lemon vinaigrette ...

90ml olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

~  Put all the ingredients in a jam jar, put the lid on tightly and shake till combined.
~  Toss leftover or purpose cooked salmon into the dressing and chill for a few hours. 
~  Toss with diced ripe avocado and a little mayonnaise.



Add fresh herbs, a slice of lemon and a white wine spritzer and you’re laughing!

Blue Cheese, Sugar Spiced Walnuts & Pear Vinaigrette
.
For this one you need ...

a lovely blue cheese – I like St. Agur
salad leaves
pear vinaigrette
sugar spiced walnuts

Pear Vinaigrette

1 large almost ripe pear
150ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp runny honey
200ml olive oil

~   Peel, slice and cook the pear in the vinegar till tender and the vinegar has gone!
~   Put the pear in a liquidiser or food processor together with the honey and whilst running gradually add the olive oil till the dressing has emulsified.
~   Taste and season.

Sugar Spiced Walnuts the recipe for which is here

~   Toss all together to make a salad! 

Sorry I haven’t got a photo of this one but here's a nice one of Cornwall!




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2 comments:

Suzanne from Belfast. said...

I have just discovered you, your recipes and your books. You make me laugh out loud with your 'randomness'! Thank you for being so entertaining.

Suzanne from Belfast.

Suzy Bowler said...

Thank Suzanne and Welcome to Blogger!

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