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A Trio of Bright and Bold Indian Salads


cucumber-salad

My Bible study group recently decided to have an Indian themed dinner, and it fell to my lot to bring a salad. When I started to do my research, however, I couldn’t stop at one. So, I made three.

Each of these is easy to make, which is always a plus. But their greatness, individually and collectively, lies in the bold, clean flavors that will add to any meal, Indian or otherwise. I have already made the Mango Salad and the Onion and Tomato Salad twice since then.

If you’re looking for a fresh alternative to a lettuce salad, check out these options.

Cucumber Salad

2 cups cucumber, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cashews coarsely ground (optional)
1 tablespoon mint, finely ripped

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ginger juice (see note)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground

For the dressing: In a bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, black pepper, ginger juice and fennel. Set aside.

For the salad: Peel the cucumber, leaving strips of skin. Slice thin, crosswise. The slices should look like half-moons.

Toss the cucumber with ground cashews, if using, and mint to coat the slices.

Just before serving, add the dressing. Mix it well.

Note: To make the ginger juice, shred the ginger using a fine shredder or zester. Squeeze the shredded ginger with your fingers to get all the juice out. Or you can place a piece of peeled ginger in a sturdy lemon juicer and press hard several times.

Adapted from ManjulasKitchen.com/Manjula Jain

Onion and Tomato Salad (Piaz aur Tamatar ka Salad)

red-onion-and-tomato-salad“Marinating the onions in salt and lemon juice reduces the pungency and makes them sweet and tangy,” says Madhu Gadia in “New Indian Home Cooking” (HPBooks, $20).

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt, divided use
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the onion, lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Cover and marinate for 20 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally. (Editor’s note: Having made the recipe twice, I would suggest marinating the onion at least 30 minutes.) Drain and discard the juice.

Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Toss lightly to mix.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 17 calories, 4 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 182 mg sodium.

From “New Indian Home Cooking” by Madhu Gadia

green-mango-saladMango Salad (Aam ka Laccha)

“In season, the swee4t and sour taste of an underripe mango when combined with salt and cayenne peppers adds and excellent taste to any meal. It is eaten more like a pickle, in a small quantity, rather than a salad,” writes Madhu Gadia in “New Indian Home Cooking.”

1 firm, underripe mango (3/4 pound)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash and peel the mango. Slice the mango flesh into 1-inch strips. Discard the seed.

Toss the mango with the cayenne pepper and salt in a bowl. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or longer in the refrigerator.

Serve cold or refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days.

Makes 16 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per 3 tablespoon serving: 12 calories, 3 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 0 g protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 67 mg sodium.

From “New Indian Home Cooking” by Madhu Gadia

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Sausage and Heirloom Tomato Salad Is Great for Your Next Picnic


Substitutes are often a way of life when it comes to recipes. Take this recipe for Sausage and Heirloom Salad, which appears in the July 2015 issue of Food & Wine magazine. The cover announces that the issue is filled with “Simplest Recipes from America’s Greatest Chefs,” and this winner from Ellen Bennett of The Apron Squad qualifies under the simple part.

sausage tomato salad

Sausage and Heirloom Tomato Salad

It sounds likes like a great way to start a picnic, because you can grill the sausage early and feed your crowd while waiting for the main course to be ready.

Trouble is, I couldn’t find the right kind of sausage to cook. Bennett calls for Calabrese, a hot and hard Italian sausage, or fresh Spanish chorizo. Usually, I would use Aurelia’s Chorizo, but I couldn’t find it at three H-E-B’s I went to. So, I ended up using a jalapeño sausage. It added a welcome bite, even if the texture might not have been what the creator of the recipe had in mind.

A friend who’s cutting back on meat liked the sounds of the salad — except for the sausage part (heresy in most of Texas, I realize, but she lives in upstate New York). No problem. One solution would be to substitute avocado for the sausage, leaving you with a vegan salad; another would be to use avocado with hard-boiled egg, providing a type of chunky guacamole salad.

Those who hate cilantro could also sue flat-leaf parsley, sorrel or celery leaves in the mix. Remember, recipe are outlines; you can adjust them to fit your tastes or what you have on hand. All that’s important is that you enjoy the final product.

Sausage and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Five (4-ounce) Calabrese or fresh chorizo sausages
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 (15-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Grill the sausages over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in each sausage registers 165 degrees, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a carving board. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice 1/2-inch thick.

In a large bowl, toss the sausages with tomatoes, hearts of palm, kalamata olives, oil, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt. Serve.

Makes 8 servings.

From Ellen Bennett, The Apron Squad/Food & Wine

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Ben Ford’s Persimmon Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Pecans


Local food lovers may remember Ben Ford as the first winner of the annual Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery. He’s also a celebrity chef, whose Ford’s Filling Station has become a hit in Culver City.

Persimmons

Persimmons

Of course, moviegoers might focus on the fact that his father is the actor Harrison Ford. What they might not know is that his wife, Emily, is a San Antonio native.

All of these come together in the handsome new cookbook, “Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking” (Atria Books, $34.99), which Ford has written with  Carolynn Carreño.

The book covers a host of party possibilities from the whole pig roast to the Hill Country barbecue, but it also impresses with its simple, effective side dishes, such as this Persimmon Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Pecans.

“When persimmons flood the Filling Station kitchen in the fall, I make this salad,” he writes. “Make this salad with pears or apples when persimmons aren’t in season.”

Persimmon Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Pecans

Dressing:
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
4 Fuyu persimmons or 1 pound pears or apples
8 ounces mâche or baby spinach
1 head frisée, torn
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 cup candied pecans (recipe follows)

tamingTo make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, salt and sugar together. Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to make an emulsified dressing. You can make the dressing up to 2 days  in advance; refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

To prepare the salad, cut both ends off each persimmon and peel with a vegetable peeler, removing as little flesh as possible. Remove the pits and thinly slice the flesh. If you are making this salad with pears or apples, cut then in half to remove the cores; lay them cut side down and thinly slice.

Put the mâche and frisée in a salad bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and toss lightly to coat. Add more dressing if desired and salt to taste. Lay the persimmon slices over the salad, crumble on the goat cheese and scatter the pecans over the top. Grind black pepper over the salad and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Candied Pecans

1 cup raw pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar

Adjust an oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the pecans on a separate baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool to room temperature.

Cook the sugar undisturbed in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Begin to stir the sugar with a wooden spoon and continue to cook until it is light brown, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the pecans and stir to coat each nut with the sugar. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet. Spread them out in a single layer and use two forks to separate them from one another, working quickly so they don’t stick together. Set the nuts aside to cool completely. You can prepare these nuts up to 3 days in advance; store them in an air together container for up to 2 days.

Makes 1 cup.

From “Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking” by Ben Ford with Carolynn Carreño

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Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad


Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad

San Antonio artist Carla Veliz sees a connection between her art and food.

“My art, like a crisp, flavorful salad, combines color, texture and visual delights to create a sensory experience,” she writes in “The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio” (SRC Publishing, $24.95). “The vibrant hues presented in delicate swirls awaken the visual senses in much the same way that a refreshing, multi-textured salad arouses the palate.”

And so, this refreshing, multi-textured Mango Mint Salad is a sweet-savory reflection of her work.

Carla Veliz’s Mango Mint Salad

3 ripe mangoes
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup shredded mint leaves

Peel and slice mangoes lengthwise.

Serve individually; plate 1/2 mango per guest.

Whisk lime juice, garlic and agave nectar in a bowl, drizzle over mango and sprinkle with shredded mist.

Makes 6 servings.

From Carla Veliz/”The Art Lovers’ Cookbook: San Antonio”

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Toss Leftover Turkey with Arugula and Spinach


Shane Turkey, Arugula and Spinach Salad

Leftover turkey gets a flavor boost from feta cheese,  garbanzo beans, dried cranberries, pear and more in this salad from Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts that goes together quickly and can be made just for one. It’s so flavorful, you don’t need a dressing on top.

Turkey, Arugula and Spinach Salad

2 cups arugula and spinach mix
2 ounces grilled or baked turkey breast, sliced
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
¼ cup cooked garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons pecans, roughly chopped
½ pear, sliced or chopped

Place arugula and spinach mix in a bowl.

Top with the turkey, feta cheese, dried cranberries, roasted chickpeas, pecans, and chopped pear.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 476 calories, 19.1 g total fat, 47 g carbohydrate, 13.7 g dietary fiber, 32.8 g protein

Makes 1 serving.

From Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts

 

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Cucumber and Zucchini Panzanella


Zucchini works well with cucumbers in this bread salad.

I picked my first zucchini Sunday and my first cucumber of the season a couple of days before that. What better way to showcase both flavors than in this summery bread salad from “Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals – From My Home to Yours” (HarperCollins, $29.99) by Mario Batali.

Cucumber and Zucchini Panzanella

2 large English cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut int 1/4-inch rounds
2 medium zucchini, sliced as thinly as possible, preferably on a mandoline
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced paper thin
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar, or less to taste
20 fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound day-old crusty, peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the cucumbers, zucchini and onions in a large salad bowl. Add the oil, vinegar and half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper, and allow to stand at room temperature.

Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes, until warm and toaste but not hard.

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, and toss the toasted bread cubes into the bowl of vegetables. Add the remaining basil, stir gently to mix, and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 8-10 servings as a side dish.

From “Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals – From My Home to Yours” by Mario Batali

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Two Salads, One Dressing


Crunchy Cabbage Salad uses both red and green cabbage.

OK, I have to admit that I laughed when I first saw Suzanne Somers’ “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” (Three Rivers Press, $21.99). Who would want to cook their way through any of the 400 or so recipes that Somers has supposedly compiled? This is another one of those celebrity cookbooks ghost written by who knows who, right?

Then I opened the book and was pleasantly surprised by how many recipes I wanted to make: Pork Paillards with Caper Butter Sauce, Braised Pork Chops with Purple Cabbage, Pan-fried New York Steaks with Fried Elephant Garlic, Crispy Mesquite Salmon, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, to name a few. All used only a few ingredients, most easily found, and came with easy-to-follow instructions that emphasized the freshness of the dish.

But it was the salad section that really scored. Ingredients like baby artichokes, hearts of palm, fennel, warm goat cheese and more are all included in this robust selection, accompanied by a series of lively dressings. These include the recipes below for Crunchy Cabbage Salad and Green Beans and Hearts of Palm, both of which use her Red Wine Vinaigrette.

If you take the time time to read the front of the book, you’ll also learn that each of the recipes is coded so you can find out if the dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian or vegan. All of the recipes are sugar-free, though some sweeteners are used, and Somers offers substitutes for her all-natural SomerSweet.

That care mixed with some really good-looking recipes make realize that the last laugh is with Somers. By the way, “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” is Somers’ 21st book, so she must be doing something right.

Green Bean Salad and Hearts of Palm

Sea salt
1 pound green beans
1 (14-ounce) can or jar hearts of palm, drained
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and boil 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. the beans will change from light to dark green. Drain and plunge the beans into a bowl of ice water; the ice bath stops the cooking process, sets the flavor, and helps the beans retain their dark green color. Slice the blanched green beans on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces and place in a large salad bowl.

Slice the hearts of palm on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add the hearts of palm, tomatoes, onions, parsley and feta to the bowl. toss with the vinaigrette and season with additional salt and pepper.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine cabbage, parsley, onion, and vinaigrette in a large salad bowl. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Combine the vinegar, oregano, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the oil is emulsified.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

Makes about 1 cup.

From “The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible” by Suzanne Somers

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