Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Salads for Summer

Summer is here - and you know what that means: time to make salads! I am a salad fiend and have enjoyed eating them since I was a kidlet. Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day.

Here are some of the ones I make frequently. In fact I'm making the lentil salad tonight and serving it along side falafels in pita with shallot yogurt, feta, roasted peppers, eggplant dip, and dolma (stuffed grape leaves).

Egyptian Lentil Salad

2 cups green lentils
6 cups water
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 cup thickly sliced green onions (incl. tops)
1 small hot green chile such as a jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. grated lime peel
2 Tbsp lime juice
3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro or parlsley

Rinse lentils, sort and discard any foreign material. Drain well. In a 4 qt. sauce pan, combine lentils, water, 2 garlic cloves, and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender (about 25-30 min). Drain, then discard the garlic and bay leaves. Let lentils cool for 15-20 min.

Transfer to a large bowl and mix lightly with onions and chile. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, lime peel and juice, minced garlic, and cumin. Cover, shake well, and pour over lentils. Stir mixture lightly. Season to taste with salt. Cover and let stand at room temperature until flavors are blended (about an hour). If made ahead, cover and refrigerate until the next day but bring to room temp. before serving. Garnish with cilantro or parsley. Makes 4 entree servings or 8 side dish servings.

Pairs well with grilled sausages and a good beer.

Green Bean and Fingerling Potato Medley

For about 4 servings
Fingerling potatoes, approximately 3-4 per person (try to get them all about the same size)
Green beans, enough for the number of people you are cooking for
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced thinly

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
zest of 1 lemon, and the juice of that lemon
salt and pepper
fresh lemon thyme if you can get it, otherwise regular thyme, to taste
mix the above, then add 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Fill a large pot with enough water to cover all the potatoes but do not yet add them to the water. When it comes to a boil, add salt, then the potatoes. I cooked mine for about 7-8 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, trim the green beans, prepare the dressing and mince the garlic and onions. Set aside.

When the potatoes are done, take them out of the water and place them into a large mixing bowl. For simplicity's sake, in the same boiling water the potatoes were in, add the green beans. Blanch for approx 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook the beans. They will lose all flavor. When done, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve the vibrant green of the beans. The best way to do this really is to "shock" them in a bowl filled with ice water.

Add cooked green beans to the potatoes in the bowl, then the vinaigrette, garlic and green onions. Give it a stir, taste for seasoning. Enjoy either warm or at room temperature.

Pairs well with just about anything, especially roasted or BBQ'd chicken, and a glass of Pinot Grigio or other crisp white wine.

1 comment :

  1. The Lentil Salad actually benefits from adding a small amount of feta cheese to it.


Print Friendly