Tomato Salad French Style

There’s not a whole lot to this tomato salad from At Home with the French Classics. As I often say, sometimes simplicity is best with cooking so don’t snub your nose at this one.

All you need to make this is juicy plump tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and chives.

The first step is to slice your tomatoes. If you are serving more than one person, you’ll want to slice a whole tomato per person.

For the vinaigrette, use equal amounts of lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs. I eye balled mine, but if I had to make a measurement guess, I’d say one tablespoon of lemon juice, oil, and chives should do the trick.

Whisk that mixture up and then drizzle it on your tomatoes and you are good to go!

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Ignore my poor slicing skills, this tomato was on it’s way to not being so fresh so it got a little mushy in the slicing process. It still tasted juicy and scrumptious and that’s what really matters.

What are my other opinions? Well, I’ve drizzled olive oil and basil on my tomatoes before, but I’ve never added lemon juice and chives to the mix.

I think my Italian heritage prefers basil, but the lemon juice is a nice touch and the chives aren’t bad either. It’s just my Italian blood’s preference of basil really.

What I like about the lemon juice add is that it gives the tomatoes a slight citrus taste that balances out the acidity which is odd cause lemons are acidic. I guess it’s like when you multiply two negatives and get a positive number or something.

Side note, that always baffled me as a kid. What kind of mysticism is this that two negatives make a positive? That’s not what we are taught growing up!

Anyway, I recommend you try this out on a hot summer day when you just need a healthy refreshing snack or as a side dish to a light summer meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Smoke on the Sausage Salad

I was surprised when I opened up The French Farmhouse Cookbook for my next recipe to find that putting sausage on your salad is a thing.

I’m an omnivore who enjoys the fine cuisine of sausage, but never have I ever had a sausage salad.

Then I thought about it more. Why is that such a surprise? I mean why not put sausage on your salad? We put steak, chicken, and even seafood on top of beds of lettuce and call it salad. Yet, this was a shocker to me.

What was not a shocker, spoiler alert, is that it’s quite good.

What you’ll need.

  • 2 smoked sausages, such as kielbasa
  • 2 cups of white wine, such as Sancerre Blanc
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 7 ounces of escarole or curly endive leaves (8 cups loosely packed), rinsed patted dry, and torn into bite-size pieces

Our first step is to cook the sausage in that fine white wine you bought and are hopefully drinking as you cook because why not? Crazier things have been done.

The cookbook says to add water until the sausages are covered with liquid. It also says you can use all of the wine. I took this as for yourself, but it might have been about the sausage.

Oops…

Anyway, bring the sausages to a boil, then reduce the heat to allow it to simmer partially covered for 20-30 minutes.

As the sausage is simmering, go ahead and make the salad dressing which consists of whisking the vinaigrette, salt, pepper, shallot, and olive oil together. Next, add this dressing to the escarole and toss.

When time is up for the sausages, remove them from the pan and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. It is also suggested that you create a rosette pattern with the sausage bits.

I have to say that I appreciate this authors dedication to beauty and creativity.

Serve your sausage piece of art alongside bread and that wine that you may or may not have drunk while cooking.

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My final result turned out to be another simplistic dish that satisfied the pleasure centers of my tastebuds. The combination of juicy plump sausages soaked in white wine and bitter vinegar soaked escarole left me wondering why I never tried it before.

So, yes I do recommend sausage on a salad and look forward to others making this discovery as well. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Shrimp and Scallop Salad

Well folks, I have another easy recipe to write about.

If you’re looking for a challenge I suggest renting a boat and fishing for your own scallops and shrimp, otherwise there’s not a whole lot of challenge to this salad from At Home with the French Classics.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just miss the days when something would go wrong and I could write something funny and entertaining. Talk about challenges. I am challenged in the being entertaining department these days.

What you’ll need

  • 3/4 pound of large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 pound of sea scallops, rinsed, tendon removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, dill, chives, or basil
  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves

The first step is boil 3 quarts of water. Place your seafood in the water and cook until the water reaches a boil again. Once it boils again, drain the water and rinse the seafood under cold water.

Grab the shrimp and slice in half vertically. Do the same with the scallops only horizontally. You can slice the scallops 2-3 times as well to make the slices smaller.

Once the seafood is sliced, set aside and grab a bowl that will be able to hold all ingredients.

We are not going to add everything just yet, because we need to make the vinaigrette. Do so by mixing the lemon juice and mustard and then the oil. Whisk this away and then season with salt and pepper.

Finally add the herbs and set aside.

We are now ready to serve.

To serve, grab a plate and add a handful of lettuce to it. Then whisk your vinaigrette mixture so it is smooth again and add the seafood. Toss the seafood and vinaigrette together until everything is coated well and then add this mixture to our plates.

By the way, you can get creative with your serving and make a circular design with your salad by overlapping the shrimp and scallops or just place the seafood in the middle with the lettuce surrounding the outer edges.

I opted for just mixing everything together. It didn’t occur to me that I could be creative until after I had already dumped everything together.

Feel free to do what you wish. I would advise no triangles though.

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This is a simple recipe with a simple taste and there’s not much to say. I recommend enjoying this on a hot summer day when you just want to be whisked away to a beachfront locale where everything is perfect and airy.

It’s how I imagine The Hamptons would be if you didn’t look beyond surface appearances.

Hannibal Lector’s Favorite Salad

Today we will discuss Classic Pasta at Home’s Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad. A favorite for Dr. Lector, he pairs it with his favorite Chianti and liverwurst that he gets at some special butcher shop. I can’t remember which one….I think it’s called Buffalo Bill’s Exotic Meats or something.

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Dr. Lector and his Chianti

Unfortunately, I ran into Dr. Lector while shopping for fava beans. His love of fava beans has no bounds. He bought them all up at the grocery store and was unwilling to share any with me. He said something about having a special dinner party and that he would invite me, but he had already “outdone” himself as it was. I don’t know what that meant, but Dr. Lector has always been a little off.

So I had to substitute with lima beans. Thankfully no other substitutes were needed.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 lbs of fava beans
  • 2 1/2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of minced green onion, stem included
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 8 – 12 soft lettuce leaves, preferably red. (Dr. Lector prefers the shade of Chianti)
  • 2 oz pecorinio cheese such as Toscanello or Manchego.

The first step in making this salad is to shell the fava or lima beans. To do this, you must either soak overnight or boil them for what seems like an eternity. Don’t be impatient with this step because it can make or break this salad. In other words, you don’t want the beans to be hard.

If you use the boil method, have a bowl of ice water ready. This creates a fast hot to cold effect that will rip off the skin of the bean. Buffalo Bill told me about this wonderful method by the way.

Drain the water once you let it cool down and then mix the beans in a large bowl with the olive oil and the green onions. Once these are mixed, you can add the salt, pepper, and lemon juice to your liking.

We are now ready to add the lettuce. Do so by tearing the lettuce into bite sized pieces and tossing gently along with rest of the salad.

The final step is to garnish with some cheese! My favorite part!

The cookbook recommends using a vegetable peeler and shaving the cheese into paper-thin slices. I grated mine, but I do think the shaved method would produce a greater taste of cheese. Being a cheese lover, I wished I had done this instead.

Can’t live in the past, though, right?

Anyway, you will want to toss the cheese as well. Once you have done so, it will be ready for consumption. Pair it with whatever you wish, unless it’s Hannibal Lector that is. I wouldn’t recommend that.

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Supernova French Salads

The next few recipes from At Home with the French Classics are variations of Endive salads. So I’ve decided to just group them all together, but I will not be preparing them all at once. I’m in no mood for an endive buffet, sorry guys.

Pink Grapefruit and Endive Salad

The first variation listed is an Endive and Pink Grapefruit Salad aka Salade d’Endives et de Pamplemousse Rose.

Pamplemousse is a word I find extremely enjoyable right now. I feel like going around all day saying pamplemousse to people. Maybe in the process I’ll make a French friend. Un ami français, if you will. 

These salads are easy to make by the way. The best part about them is that they can become your own personal art project. I’m a Picasso type artist myself, but basically you arrange endive salads in a circle creating  a flower like effect.

For the grapefruit one, you put chunks of grapefruit in the middle.

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It’s abstract, deal with it.

I’m clearly an artisanal food genius here folks. This is some pure food Cubism that Picasso would be impressed by.

Enough about me, though, let us move on to the logistics.

What you’ll need for this recipe is 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 2 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil, 3 Belgian endives, and one large pink grapefruit.

The first step in making this salad is to mix the vinaigrette. This consists of the vinegar, salt, pepper, and oil. Add the oil to the mix last to guarantee a balanced mix.

The next step is to peel off the leaves of your endives until you almost get to the core of the vegetable. In other words, you want fairly large leaves to place the grapefruit inside.

Speaking of the grapefruit, this cookbook has useful instructions on how to peel and cut it. That tip is to first cut off the ends and then do the apple trick only with a twist. What I mean by the apple trick is the old fashioned technique of peeling an apple where you take a knife and slowly peel in a diagonal formation. You will do the same with the grapefruit, but add a sawing motion as well. This is important, because grapefruit skin is stockier than apple skin. You’ve got to saw that baby off like Buffalo Bill would.

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Grapefruit doesn’t require lotion Bill!

I actually don’t know if Buffalo Bill sawed skin off, I shouldn’t make such claims. I just thought it would be funny. Sorry Bill!

Once you have the grapefruit peeled, you cut in half and then section it off based on it’s natural divisions. Meaning, tear apart at the seams already naturally placed by the fruit.

You will now be ready to serve. To do so, reference the picture above, (the grapefruit, not Bill) and then sprinkle it with your vinaigrette. That’s all there is to it.

My cookbook says that somehow these two bitter fruits are able to cancel out their bitterness by hanging out together. Almost like if you multiply two negative numbers, you get a positive.

Despite these mathematics, I still thought it was a little bitter. I’m kind of a bitter person at times, though, so maybe my bitterness cancelled out the mathematical taste rule. I’d consult a mathematician to be sure.

Watercress and Endive Salad

The second Endive salad variation includes watercress. The French call it Salade d’Endives et de Cresson.

The watercress version of this endive salad is best enjoyed in the winter. Not because it warms your heart or anything, but because that’s when most vegetables are in mercury retrograde. Watercress and endives are immune to the toils of mercury.

What you’ll need

  • 3 Belgian Endives, separated into leaves
  • 1 bunch of watercress, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

The process of making this variation is almost the same as the grapefruit. You will prepare the vinaigrette the same way, except for the addition of Dijon.

This time around I used grapeseed oil instead of vegetable. Grapeseed oil is a healthy alternative and it seemed to enhance the taste. If the healthy alternative is good, you might as well use it.

The placement of the salad is also similar to the grapefruit variation. You peel the first few endive leaves to use to create a star shape. In this variation, instead of the watercress being place on top of the leaves, you just place it in the middle with the leaves jetting out.

You can also slice and dice your endive and mix it with the watercress. I did both. Taste wise, I prefer slicing and dicing. It’s easier to eat and you can use the whole endive. Aesthetically, the star method is cute and it is fun. You can’t discredit that.

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Watercress Star

I liked this variation better than the grapefruit. I thought it was tasty, light, and fresh. I felt like a tall gazelle while eating it. Thankfully I’m not a gazelle, because then I’d probably get eaten by a lion or something.

Endive and Walnut

Our third installment is more of the chopped salad variety and includes walnuts.

It includes the same ingredients as far as the dressing goes, but if you’re feeling extra nutty the cookbook does recommend substituting the vegetable oil with walnut oil. For those of you on a budget, this is a little expensive in comparison to vegetable oil. If you’re going to shell out the cash for it, I recommend finding other recipes that call for it.

What you’ll need

  • 3 Belgian Endives, leaves separated and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 30 walnut halves
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of pepper
  • 1/2 cup of light vegetable oil (optional to substitute two tablespoons of this with walnut oil)

Making this salad is pretty straight forward. There aren’t many steps in making this. You cut the endive, slice the walnuts into halves, add the dressing and then toss all together. Making the dressing consists of the remaining ingredients whisked together.

Extremely simple.

So far, this is my favorite endive salad. It was crisp, light, and crunchy. The cookbook says it’s usually served in winter as a side dish with some hearty meat, but I think it’d be great as a soup/salad combo myself.

I like that this one is chopped too. As pretty as the supernova endive leaves are, they just aren’t as satisfying in terms of texture and taste.

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Salad d’Endives aux Noix

Endive and Beets

Salade d’Endives et de Betteraves is the beet version and final installment of the Supernova Salads.

This one turned out to be another favorite due to mixing of boiled egg and beets. I can’t think of the proper words to describe the taste and texture of these two. It’s just comforting to me. Like warm butter and jelly on toast.

What you’ll need

  • 6 large beets
  • 3 endives
  • 3 tablespoons of tarragon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3/4 cup light vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Boiled eggs

The first step is to bake your beets. Do so by pre-heating your oven to 400 and cutting off all stems, roots, and leaves from your beets.

Beets are a little hairy and dirty, so give them a nice scrubby bath before you continue to the next step which is to wrap them in aluminum foil. Place these wrapped beets in a pan and bake for  about 45 minutes.

You’ll know the 45 minutes were efficient if you can stick a knife and easily pierce the center of the beet.

Allow the beets to cool into a couple of beatniks, peel the skin and then dice then up.

You will then toss them in a dressing with ingredients provided above.

To make that dressing, first mix the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper together. Then add the two remaining oils and you’re done!

As I said mix this dressing with the beets and then arrange those beets in the center of your serving plate.

The next step is to place the endive leaves so that they surround the beet mound, similar to recipes above.

The final step is my favorite, which is dicing a boiled egg and sprinkling on top.

You now have an artistic and tasty flower salad to eat!

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Tumato Salad or The Salad that Stole My Heart

This salad. Oh my god this salad! I know it’s a basic thing for white girls to love salad, but I’ll have you know that I’ve always been desperately in love with chicken parmesan, pizza, burritos, and chips and salsa. It’s a toxic unhealthy orgy.

I think this Tomato and Tuna Salad from Classic Pasta at Home is the one for me though. It’s not overbearing, it’s filling, and it’s lean. I will miss my toxic orgy, but this salad will make up for it with devotion.

I’m not fooling anyone am I? I’m going to end up cheating on this salad the second pizza winks at me. The goddamn bastard knows he has me in his clutches!

Ok, so my bad humor aside, this salad truly is one of the best tuna salads I’ve had. Before I tackled this recipe, I’ve tried my hand at creating my own tuna salad recipe. It’s always good, but a meh good. It doesn’t really knock your socks and boots off. I think the key thing it was missing that I learned from this recipe is the white wine vinegar and basil. Those were the two major ingredients I was missing in my own concoction anyway.

What you’ll need to make this is, 2 large seeded and chopped tomatoes, 1/2 lb of tuna (I used Genova Yellowfin Tuna and I highly recommend it), 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of minced red onion, 2 teaspoons of capers, 2 cloves of minced garlic, salt, white wine vinegar to taste, around 12 basil leaves torn into small pieces, 1 heart butter lettuce, 2 hard boiled eggs quartered, and 12 black  Mediterranean olives.

To assemble the salad you will combine the tomatoes, tuna, oil, onion, capers, and garlic in a large bowl. I do not like capers and therefore omitted them, just so you know. Toss this mix and season with salt and vinegar. Toss again. Salads really like to be tossed apparently.

Once the salad is satisfied with your tossing, you will add the basil.

The final step is to divide your lettuce into 4 servings. In other words get 4 salad plates and make sure each has an equal amount of lettuce. Once that step is done, do the same with the tuna mixture as well as the olives and egg.

As you can see by my photo below, I just halved the eggs. I didn’t see the point in quartering them since I just made this salad for myself. I also bought California black olives, because I just wrote black olives on my grocery list.

Do you guys think I’ll ever get this lesson about details? I sure hope so.

I do prefer Mediterranean olives to black olives and I do think this salad would have been even better if it weren’t for my mistake. In the end, it wasn’t much of a deterrent to my enjoyment of this salad though. I look forward to making it again and this is a recipe I’ve bookmarked for the future.

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Run away salad! I’ll just hurt you!

Salmon Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

My next recipe was sent to me, via my mother years ago. She found it in a magazine. I can’t recall which one she got it from, but she thought it looked healthy and tasty. She wasn’t wrong.

This simple salad is filling and yet lite. It’s a healthy slab of salmon that doesn’t require a heavy dressing to be tasty.The tomatoes compliment the salmon and add a light juicy flavor. It’s the perfect salad to ween yourself off of heavy dressings like ranch and blue cheese, because it teaches you how tasty a salad can be without all the fatty bells and whistles. Trust me, I loved ranch dressing in my youth, but now I crave balsamic dressings with oregano because they compliment as opposed to overwhelming the taste of a salad.

So to make this healthy protein salad, you’ll need 16 cherry tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, plus a 1/4 cup for later, 4 6 oz. salmon fillets with skin, 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice, 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil, and 4 oz. of mixed baby green lettuce.

The first step is to pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Once it’s heated you will place the tomatoes inside to roast, but before you do so, drizzle two teaspoons of oil on top. They will roast for about 8 minutes.

While they are roasting, you will cut a couple of diagonal lines into each salmon fillet and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. This technique is called scoring and is done to open up the meat so it absorbs ingredients more deeply. Once you are done scoring, place the salmon on a saute pan with the salmon skin facing down. Set the heat to medium-low and then finally to high. I admittedly do not understand this, since there are no instructions as to how long you are supposed to keep it on medium-low, but I’m assuming it’s so the salmon can be a bit slow cooked. Anyway, you will cook the skin side for 2-3 minutes and then flip and cook for 1-2 minutes. The goal is for the salmon to have a slight pink color in the middle.

Once that’s done, you might as well make your dressing. To do so, you will slowly whisk and pour, the grapeseed oil and 1/4 cup of olive oil into a bowl with the lime juice already inside. Season with salt and pepper to your liking as well.

The final step is to put everything together! So, get your lettuce out, place a salmon fillet on top with some tomatoes, and drizzle with oil.

The final result, as I said at the top of this entry, is quite good! I feel it’s versatile as well. Meaning, that you could just keep the recipe for the tomatoes and salmon, add rice, and just sprinkle a bit of lime juice for flavor.

That’s the beauty of salmon, though. It’s simple to cook and doesn’t require a lot of dressing up. It’s a low maintenance kind of gal.

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Flaky, crispy, tasty, and healthy!