September – Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

September – Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Summer is definitely salad season and the less cooking we have to do in the warm weather, the better. This salad could easily be an entire meal, just add some crisp bread and creamy cheese on the side. You wouldn’t even need to turn on the oven.

So serve this salad in the dog days of summer. The weather man has predicted a massive heat wave this Labor Day weekend in northern California.

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

This salad was adapted from Bon Appetit (November 2008) and posted by the blog Smitten Kitchen (November 2008).

That seems like a very long time ago now, so much has happened and changed since then. In 2008 I think pomegranate seeds were mostly available in the fall, now I often find them in the store year round. They add a very satisfying crunch to the salad, a wonderful textural and flavor enhancement.

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients for about 4 servings: 

  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt
  • 6 cups of arugula (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used my fig balsamic)
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into strips
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds

Method:

  1. Toss the fennel with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt. You can do this as much as a day ahead.
  2. Combine the arugula, green onions, mint, vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Toss and season with more salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the greens among plates or in a large serving bowl. Top with the fennel, drape with the prosciutto. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top
Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

Fennel, Prosciutto and Pomegranate Salad

I am taking this to share on Fiesta Friday, it’s #345 this week hosted by Angie and cohosted by me. Indian summer is here and cooling salads are always welcome. Please join us by clicking on the link, you will find a variety of sweet and savory recipes, craft and decorating ideas.

Stay well and safe everyone. Don’t forget to keep your social distance and wear your mask. We need to be compassionate and take care of each other.

June – Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

June – Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

This scrumptious salad was inspired and came together by combining two recipes, the Tomato Chickpea Salad from the blog kitchn, and one for Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad from the cookbook Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. Are you familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi? He is the inspiration behind the London restaurants Ottolenghi and NOPI, and has written several vegetarian cook books. They include Plenty and Jerusalem, in addition to Plenty More. His recipes have a wonderful mix of new spices, exotic ingredients, and methods (at least to me), many of them coming from the middle east. I changed some of the spices (I adore cumin, allspice not so much) and added the stir fried chickpeas from the kitchn recipe to make it a heartier dish.

Roasted Lemon and Tomato Salad

The new method in this salad is the addition of roasted lemons. I love the way lemons become caramelized and sweet when roasted, sheet pan roasted chicken and citrus is a favorite at our house. But, I had never thought of adding them to a salad. They add a wonderful citrusy scent and mellow lemon flavor sweetened by the roasting. Take a deep breath when you open the oven to check on them, the aroma is incredible. I had a sudden craving for lemon meringue.

Roasted Lemons – before

Roasted Lemons – after

This salad will be even better at the height of tomato season, unfortunately it’s still a few weeks away for us and I missed the farmer’s market last weekend. Use the best cherry tomatoes you can find (a variety is colorful), the rest of the ingredients will certainly ramp things up.

This is a salad I will be making multiple times this summer, it is a perfect side for a BBQ or potluck. In fact it is my addition to a friends party on the 4th of July. It has the benefit of also being both vegan and vegetarian, so can be served to a variety of guests without worry about dietary restrictions. You could bulk it up even further by increasing the amount of herbs or adding some arugula. It is even hearty enough to serve as a main dish with the addition of some crisp bread.

Roasted Lemon and Tomato Salad

The recipe will serve 4 but it is easily doubled or even tripled. Make the roasted lemons and chickpeas earlier in the day, all you have to do later is assemble.

Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad

  • 2 medium lemons, unwaxed and organic preferred
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 8 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (it is nice to have a mixture of colors)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (or 325 degrees C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the lemons in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Thinly slice the half lemons into half rounds (paper fine if possible).
  3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.
  4. Add the lemon slices to the boiling water, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain well, place the lemon slices in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and the shredded sage leaves. Mix well.  Spread the lemon slices out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake the lemon slices for about 20 minutes until the edges have browned and they have dried out a bit. Remove and set aside to cool.
  6. Meanwhile prepare the chickpeas. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chickpeas and spread out in a single layer. Cook without stirring until browned on the bottom (about 4-5 minutes). Salt and stir them, spread them out again to brown the other side. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown and blistered on all sides. Remove from the heat, add the cumin and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat on all sides with the spices, taste them and add some salt if needed, set aside to cool.
  7. To assemble the salad combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, mint, pomegranate seeds, pomegranate molasses, onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.Lastly add the lemon slices and stir gently.

    Roasted Lemon and Tomato Salad

    Roasted Lemon and Tomato Salad

    This salad was a hit on the 4th of July, I bet the folks at Fiesta Friday will also enjoy it. This week it is Fiesta Friday #179 hosted by Angie and cohosted by Petra @ Food Eat Love and Laura @ Feast Wisely. 

Join the party by adding your own link and come visit all the lovely food that contributors               are bringing along.

 

June – Summer Detox Salad

June – Summer Detox Salad

Detox salads are all the rage on the internet and Pinterest. And with good reason. It is summer vacation time, yes? And who doesn’t need an occasional detox after too much summer fun. In fact these salads are a good idea anytime you need to boost your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. There are at least 3 servings of vegetables, plus protein, and fiber…all in a single bowl. Use whatever produce is in season, add some nuts, healthy fat as in avocado, and protein. For this salad I used fresh salmon since it is currently in season, but shrimp or chicken would also work. There is a detox salad for every season. This is a hearty lunch or dinner in a single bowl, you don’t need to be “detoxing” to enjoy it.

A big dose of Southern hospitality has driven me to this summer detox salad. I spent a week catching up with family. It was a week filled with love, wonderful conversation, great food, and celebration. I have two brand new beautiful grandnieces, so we have a lot to be grateful for. My extended family is getting bigger…

And so is my waist.

What did me in? If you are curious here are a few of the highlights:

Southern Biscuits and Plum Conserve

Southern Biscuits and Plum Conserve

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Pickles

Fried Pickles

And, of course, delicious wine.

French Rose

French Rose

So, detox salad for a few days seems like a very good idea. I don’t have a “real” recipe for this. It’s a variation of my “everything but the kitchen sink salad“, and a summer version of the “clean out the fridge soup” I make in the winter. Be creative. Use the freshest produce you can find at the store or farmer’s market. Feel free to substitute, the only rule is to use ingredients that are in season. If you can find organic produce, all the better. I harvested the first summer tomatoes and cucumbers from my garden, and added some wild arugula that has become a weed. For a sweet touch and some heft I added the first summer corn, then some sharpness from thinly sliced red onion, crunch from a small handful of nuts, and healthy fat from avocado.

The first garden tomatoes

The first garden tomatoes

Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, and Onion

Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, and Onion

Add some corn.

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

For protein I used salmon, but shrimp or chicken or even cubed feta would be a delicious substitute.

Cubed Salmon, Sauteed, and Drained

Cubed Salmon, Sauteed, and Drained

Let your creative juices run wild, I even tossed in a lonely apricot that needed to be eaten.

Summer Detox Salad

  • 3 tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled if necessary and cubed
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked – they would be delicious grilled, kernels cut from the cob
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound of fresh salmon, cubed and browned, then drained on paper towels
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 handfuls of fresh arugula, romaine, or baby spinach1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Small handful of toasted nuts – pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts or pecans

Dressing

Use a version of my basic vinaigrette, substituting lemon juice for the vinegar in the original recipe.

  • 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt to taste, a good pinch
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small jar. Shake well to blend. Add the olive oil and shake again to emulsify. The vinaigrette will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Or, for a dose of fermented food and probiotics, whirl a few tablespoons of fermented lemon pickle with some olive oil and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. A few parsley leaves added a touch of green.

Fermented Lemon Pickle

Fermented Lemon Pickle

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Fermented Lemon Pickle, olive oil and mayonnaise

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

IMG_4619

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

Summer Detox Salad

I am taking this to share with the partying group at Angie’s for Fiesta Friday. Come visit Fiesta Friday #125 by clicking on the link. This week’s co-hosts are Quinn @ dadwhats4dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod.

June in the Kitchen – Warm Squash and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Tahini Dressing

June in the Kitchen – Warm Squash and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Tahini Dressing

I seem to be stuck on dishes that work on a buffet these days. It’s the impulse to cook foods that are excellent warm or at room temperature, easy summer food perfect with something tossed on the BBQ. This dish could also be a main course for a vegan or vegetarian meal.

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Sauce

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Sauce

The recipe is adapted from Food 52 “The Genius Recipes“.

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini

  • 2 lbs of winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • 1 garlic clove, minced finely
  • 1 teaspoon Zahtar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of home cooked chickpeas or 1 can of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of roughly chopped cilantro

Tahini Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons of water (plus more if needed to thin)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the squash with the garlic, allspice, Zahtar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in one layer on the baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Let cool for a few minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with the lemon juice, add the tahini paste. Thin with water and add the olive oil. Whisk into a smooth sauce and taste for seasoning.
  4. To assemble, place the warm squash, chickpeas, red onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add the tahini sauce and mix carefully. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Warm Squash and Chickpea Salad

Warm Squash and Chickpea Salad

I’m taking this for the buffet at Angie’s for Fiesta Friday #73. Come join the fun.

Fiesta Friday

June in the Kitchen – Peach, Arugula and Prosciutto Salad

June in the Kitchen – Peach, Arugula and Prosciutto Salad

I first read about this combination of juicy peaches, rich prosciutto and peppery arugula in Michael Chiarello’s cookbook “Casual Cooking“. The cookbook was published in 2002 and is still pertinent 13 years later, offering recipes that are flavorful and delicious in addition to being easy to prepare. Michael Chiarello is a chef in Napa Valley, which is sometimes called the Tuscany of America. He is founder of the Tra Vigne restaurant in St. Helena. Recently a post I read on Fiesta Friday #71 for a “Grilled Nectarine and Arugula Salad” on Caroline’s Cooking triggered my memory, her recipe sounds delicious. I haven’t made Michael’s version in several years, it used to be a favorite because it is so versatile. Serve it as a first course (on individual plates), on a platter as part of a buffet, or even as dessert.

Use peaches, or nectarines, or a combination…I think even apricots would be wonderful.

Warm Peach and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula

  • 1/4 lb. of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 lb. of peaches or combination of peaches (peeled) and nectarines, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula, washed and dried
  1. Lay out the prsciutto on individual plates or a platter. Let it warm to room temperature.IMG_3300
  2. Place the sliced fruit in a bowl and add the salt and pepper (salt no more than 10 minutes before cooking or they will soften too much).
  3. Heat the butter in a large skillet and cook on medium until starting to brown.
  4. Add the thyme, and bay leaf to the skillet and warm for 30 seconds to flavor the butter.
  5. Add the peaches and balsamic vinegar, cook for an additional 30 seconds to warm.
  6. Turn off the heat and take the skillet off the burner, add the arugula and toss quickly just to wilt. Remove the bay leaf.
  7. Add the contents of the skillet to the platter of prosciutto.
Warm peach salad with proscuitto and arugula

Warm peach salad with prosciuitto and arugula