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Insalata di Pomodori e Melone (Tomato Melon Salad)


When you go to the farmers market this weekend, be sure to stock up on fresh tomatoes and melon in season. They’re great by themselves or tossed together in a fresh salad. That’s why this salad from celebrity chef David Rocco is so appealing.

“I love using sweet fruit in a savory salad,” he writes in his new cookbook, “Made in Italy” (Clarkson Potter Publishers, $35) “You’ll find this a lot in Sicily. There, people ‘get’ mixing these flavors. that may be a result of how incredible their fruit is. I’m going to give you the basics to match the picture, but don’t be afraid to make this salad your own. For instance, you don’t have to use arugula as a base. Sometimes I use only fruit, some finely chopped red onion for spice and heat, and some fresh mint or oregano.

“You can change the fruit. I’ve used melon here, but oranges or figs are also great. The thing that brings all the flavors together is the olive oil, so use the good stuff here.”

Insalata di Pomodori e Melone (Tomato Melon Salad)

2 or 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste (optional)
1 bunch arugula, torn

The key here is to mix your tomatoes, cucumber, melon and red onions in the vinegar, oil and spices and let that sit for 5 minutes. Make sure, though, that you don’t overdo it with the oregano or the red wine vinegar. These are really just slight complements to the fruit and the fantastic olive oil, and too much of either will overpower the dish.

On a serving plate, lay out your greens. I prefer using baby arugula because it has a nice pepperiness and makes a great base for the salad. Add the seasoned fruits and vegetables on top. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Made from Italy” by David Rocco

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Radish and Cucumber Salad


Radish and Cucumber Salad

Sometimes, the simplest combinations shine more brightly than complex creations. This salad features only three ingredients outside of the dressing — radishes, cucumbers and either arugula or spinach. And the dressing isn’t that complicated either. But put them together and a rewarding salad results.

This went well with ham and seafood both on Easter and would work with just about anything else you were serving. It is yet another winning surprise from Suzanne Somers’ “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” (Three Rivers Press, $21.99).

Radish and Cucumber Salad

1 bunch radishes, sliced into quarters
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into half-moons
1 bunch arugula or spinach
Extra virgin olive oil
Sherry vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine the radishes, cucumber and arugula. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss until well coated.

Place the salad on individual plates and top sliced chicken, if desired. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

 

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Oranges and Olives Combine to Make a Memorable Salad


Orange and Olive Salad

Olives have been on my mind lately, thanks in part to the recent Olives Olé. And one of the ways I like to serve them is in a salad with oranges, so the sweet and salty have a chance to blend. This is a Mediterranean classic, and Dorie Greenspan has a great variation in her new cookbook, “Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours” (Houghton Mifflin, $40).

“This is an exceedingly simple first-course salad or chaser when the main event is a tagine or rich stew,” she writes. “Here, slices of orange are drizzled with olive oil and strewn with onion rings and small black olives.”

Play around with the ingredients. I used blood oranges, simply because they were all I had in the house. The color wasn’t as vibrant, but the juice was abundant and flavorful. That forced me to add a touch of cilantro, which worked nicely in the mix.

Orange and Olive Salad

1 small onion, red or yellow
4 navel, Temple or other “meaty” oranges
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
Niçoise or other small black olives, pitted or not
Salt, preferably fleur de sel, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

You can leave the onion whole or cut it in half. thinly slice it, and separate the slices into rings or half rings. rinse the slices and drop them into a bowl of ice water. If you’ve got the time, let them sit in their water bath for about 20 minutes — the rinse will wash away some of their bitterness, and the bath will make them crisp.

You may want to remove the zest and save it before peeling the oranges. You can remove it in wide strips, cut away the white pith on the underside, and freeze the strips; you can sliver or chop the zest or you can grate it. (Slivered or grated zest won’t freeze as well.)

Remove a thin slice from the top and bottom of each orange to give yourself flat surfaces, stand the orange up, and, working your knife around the contours of the orange, cut away the peel, the pith and the tiniest bit of flesh. Once they are peeled, cut the oranges into rounds 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick, and arrange attractively on a large serving platter. If you’d like, you can cover the oranges and chill them before you finish and serve the salad.

Drain the onions and pat them dry. Drizzle the olive oil over the oranges, scatter over the onions, top with the olives and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Around My French Table” by Dorie Greenspan

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