Posts tagged ‘olives’

November 17, 2011

Salad Series {post #2} Fresh Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Salads, the perfect sidekick

Fresh Brussels Sprout and Herb Salad with Shaved Parmesan, Crispy Bacon with an Apple – Mustard Vinaigrette
1 pound fresh brussels sprouts, cook in salted water until just done, run under cold water. If large slice in half.
4 slices thick cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces, cooked crisp, drain on paper towels
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste

Apple – Mustard Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh pressed apple juice, reduced to 2 Tablespoons – let cool.
2 T. grainy mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 T. fresh chives, finely chopped
1 T. fresh thyme (measure before stemmed) chopped
2 T. almond oil
2 T. grape seed oil
good pinch of sea salt
few grinds of fresh pepper

For the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid – shake to emulsify.
To finish the salad, toss the brussels sprouts with enough of the vinaigrette to coat. Top with the bacon and a good shave of Parmigiano-Reggiano (I used a microplane), serve immediately.



Fresh Cauliflower Salad with Crispy Capers, Olives, Shaved Red Onion and Herbs with a Grainy Mustard – Lemon Vinaigrette

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets – cook in salted water until just done, run under cold water.
1/8 red onion, finely julienned (place in a colander and rinse under cold water for several minutes to mellow the taste)
1/4 cup mixed olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
1 red or green jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (add more or less to your liking)
1 T. chives, finely chopped
1 T. parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup salt packed capers, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup grape seed oil

Grainy Mustard – Lemon Vinaigrette
2 T. grainy mustard
1 clove garlic, grated
juice from 1 lemon
2 T. almond oil
2 T. grape seed oil
a good pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

For the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid – shake to emulsify.

For the crispy capers, in a small pan heat the oil to almost smoking. Add the capers (they might spatter a bit so stand back :) Cook until slightly brown and crispy, drain on a few layers of paper towels.
To assemble the salad, combine all the prepared ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to coat. Top with the crispy capers and serve immediately.



I spent a lot of time developing these 2 salads, and am happy to report that they turned out quite amazing. Although dressed with bold, mustardy vinaigrettes, the freshness of the veggies and herbs really shine.
Don’t even think about using frozen vegetables here, the key to these salads are to keep them bright and fresh. Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are pretty common, and I’m sure that most of you can find it fresh at your market. Another key to these salads are cooking the vegetables just right. If you cook them too much they’ll be watery and fall apart (that’s a terrible thing to do to veggie), but you don’t want them raw either – the only words I can think of to describe the texture is crisp-tender. You want them to be cooked and still have their fresh quality. Although both dressings are heavily mustard based, they are still quite different and can be served together. With all the heavy food served at the holiday table (roasted meats, stuffing, gravy – all brown, all wonderful) they can really weigh you down. It’s nice to have some cool, bright and fresh options to lighten things up. The fresh, crisp-tender veggies with a bright and bold vinaigrette is the perfect sidekick. These veggie-salads can be prepared early in the day and tossed in the dressing just before serving, leaving one less thing monopolizing your precious space on the stove or in the oven.

I replanted my herb garden this week. After a 4 month stay in California there wasn’t a trace of fresh herbs when I returned – I guess I’m not the only one that can’t handle the Florida summers! I was quite excited to have all the options to use – and I think I used every herb in the garden for these salads.


March 23, 2011

Nicoise Salad and Quick Pickled Cucumbers

click on recipe to enlarge

Julia Child, what a true inspiration. It was her that made the Salade Nicoise famous here in America and was one of her favorite main course salads. The classic has tomato wedges, boiled new potatoes, hard boiled eggs, leafy lettuce and canned tuna. I’ve changed it up to suit my taste (and to use what came in my CSA share). I used sweet potatoes, soft boiled eggs, baby spinach, heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh seared tuna and I added the olives and anchovy to the vinaigrette. My version may be debated by purists and not considered a true Salade Nicoise (sorry Julia), but I think she would have approved of this one. “Bon Appétit!”

I pickle anything and everything I can get my hands on. Beets, green beans, cabbage, carrots, jalapenos – sour, sweet or spicy, it doesn’t matter, it’s all good to me. At this moment I have beets, radishes and jalapenos in my fridge patiently waiting to be added to burgers, salads, a sauce or cocktail. I find myself pickling the fresh vegetables I can’t seem to eat quick enough. You know how it is to have a fridge full of beautiful vegetables knowing that it’s not humanly possible to plow through them all before you start having casualties, or to have no choice but to make yet another Ratatouille or soup surprise. So I pickle them to enjoy later – no pressure, no guilt.

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