Thai Cabbage and Tomato Salad

Salad

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 12 wedges, then cut in half
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 c roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

Dressing

  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1/3 c fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 c fish sauce (for fresh uses I like Red Boat, but 3 Crabs is great too)
  • 2 T raw sugar
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-5 fresh bird’s eye or Thai chillies OR dried chillies soaked in boiling water for 5 min.

Tomato & Lentil Salad

Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C Lentils du Puy, rinsed and picked for debris
  • 1 small onion, halved with the skin on
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 dried red chillies

 Add all to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-35 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let the lentils sit in the salted water for 10 minutes more. Remove and drain, discarding aromatics. Let cool to room temperature.

 Salad

  • 1 T whole grain or coarse ground mustard
  • 2 T capers, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
  • 1/3 C good extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, very small dice
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 8-10 large basil leaves

Smash the garlic cloves with a meat pounder or the side of your knife several times, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and smash further, scraping together the paste and running your knife through it until a paste forms. Add to a small bowl along with the mustard and minced capers. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whilst whisking to form the vinegarette. Put the lentils in a large bowl and add the onion. Slice the tomatoes into 1″ cubes and add to the lentils. Chiffonade the basil leaves and them and the dressing to the salad and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper (and more vinegar and olive oil) as needed. Let sit for at least half an hour for the flavours to meld.

Spring Green Salad with Kumquats and Pickled Shallots

Salad:
6 C of a spring salad mix – anything with baby arugula, beet greens, various lettuces, frisée, mustard greens, etc.
10-12 kumquats, sliced in half
8 strips bacon, cooked until very crispy, cooled and crumbled, added directly before serving
chopped parsley to taste
mini bocconcini (penny-sized fresh mozarella balls)
pickled shallots (recipe below)

Pickled Shallots:
4 shallots, sliced paper thin
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t white sugar
2 T white wine vinegar
juice of two small tangerines/mandarins or one orange

Let the shallots sit for an hour or so in the liquid, stirring occasionally to ensure even coverage by the liquid.

Dressing:
2-3 T of the pickling liquid whisked with 3-4 T of neutral vegetable oil, salt and pepper to taste

Carrot Sunomono

4-5 medium carrots cut into matchsticks or shredded
3 scallions sliced on a bias

1/4 C rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 t freshly grated ginger-root
4 t sugar
1 t salt

Dress the vegetables with the vinegar mixture and let sit 30 minutes to an hour before serving, stirring several times. If desired, drain the excess vinegar from the carrots before serving.

Sunomono are Japanese quick pickles/salads which can be made from just about any vegetable and many fruits.  The recipe above could be modified by using any combination of: cucumber, daikon, radish, turnip, jicama, celeriac, etc.

Lemony Chicken Pasta Salad

1 small chicken, roasted or from rotisserie
1 – 1 1/4 lb small pasta – mostaccioli is my favourite for this.
1 bunch scallions (about 6)
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch tarragon
4-5 small centre stalks of celery with leaves
4-5 smallish ripe tomatoes or several dozen cherry tomatoes
butter/boston lettuce
1/2 c coarsely chopped almonds

Dressing:
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C mayonnaise
2-3 T good extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t grainy Dijon mustard
1 small jar of capers, drained
salt and pepper

Boil the pasta in salted water for about 10 min. until al dente. You want the pasta to still have some nice bite to it – don’t cook it all the way through. I bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store – they’re extra juicy, but you can roast your own small chicken. Do it several hours or the day before so it’s cold by the time you need it. Shred the chicken meat (breasts, thighs, legs) and reserve the carcass, wings, etc. for making soup/stocks. In a very large bowl, place the cold pasta and shredded chicken.

Wash and chop the celery. I like using the centre stalks for this because I like the flavour and yellowy colour of the celery leaves. You can also add in a large outside stalk. Wash and slice the scallions on a 30 degree bias, using all the white and green part. Give the parsley and tarragon a medium chop and add all the veggies and herbs to the bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon zest to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Then add in the lemon juice and enough olive oil to make a pourable dressing. Taste, and then add in the capers and salt and pepper to taste and stir gently until combined.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss just until coated. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Wash the lettuce, and wash and cut the tomatoes into wedges. Place several lettuce leaves on a salad place, top with the pasta salad, sprinkle with almonds and garnish with tomatoes and a couple whole parsley leaves. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and grind a little bit of pepper over the top.

Now, EAT!

Citrus Mint Peach Salad

6-8 peaches
1 ruby red grapefruit
2 navel oranges
2 tangerines
1 lemon (for zest only)
1 bunch fresh mint
superfine sugar

Zest 1/2 of the lemon and about 1/2 of one of the navel oranges. Put the zest into about 1/2 C of superfine sugar and let it flavour the sugar for at least 1/2 hour.
Wash, halve, and stone the peaches. Slice each half into 8-10 slices. Put all the sliced peaches into a large serving bowl.
Now cut the top and bottom off all the oranges and grapefruit. place each piece of fruit on your board, and using a sharp knife, from the top curving around the fruit towards the bottom, cut away all the pith and peel, leaving just the flesh exposed. Then take the peeled fruit, and slice each segment away from all surrounding membranes with a sharp paring knife. This is called a “supreme“. Cut all the citrus into supremes and put in with the peaches. Then take the left over membranes and squeeze the remainder of the juice over the peach and citrus mixture, being careful not to get any seeds in it.
Now take about 3 T or so of the mint and coarsely chop it and throw with a flourish onto the fruit. Now take a few tablespoons of the flavoured sugar, shake over the fruit and mint, and mix VERY GENTLY.

Lastly, take several sprigs of the mint, get them moist (but not dripping wet) and dust them in the sugar until they are coated well, being careful not to bruise. Let them dry, and then use them to garnish the dish. Also, they taste delicious just by themselves, or as a garnish for any number of desserts/cocktails.

This is a great summery dessert, but of course is amazing all year round, as is everything I make, obviously.

This would also be really good blended and then served with sparkling white wine – Prosecco or Champagne (like a Bellini, but better).