Nancy’s Chopped Salad

From Nancy Silverton’s Mozza Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen blog. This vinaigrette makes the salad and you can find the wonderful Sicilian oregano that is so full of flavor at Amazon. Today, I varied the ingredients and it is always delicious. Iceberg is a must as it has the perfect crunch. There are endless possibilities of combinations of vegetables and meats and cheese. I used a finocchio salami that was really delicious. For two of us, I just prep the amount of ingredients that I think we will eat so you can plan accordingly.

Oregano dressing
4 cloves garlic (I use 2 as I don’t want it too strong)
1 to 2 tablespoons dried oregano (Nancy recommends 2; I got nervous and used 1, but might not have minded more)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil, ideally extra-virgin

Salad and assembly
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rings
1/2 pound provolone (see Note about varieties), sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1/2 pound salami, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
4 medium or 8 small pickled pepperoncini, sliced into rings
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
Sea salt
1 head iceberg lettuce (see Note about size), halved, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch ribbons
1 head radicchio, halved, cored and cut in 1/4-inch ribbons
2 tablespoons dried oregano for garnish (optional)

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic and then add the oregano, salt and up to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Chop the mixture together and use the side of a knife or a mortar and pestle to make a grainy herb paste. Transfer the paste to a large salad bowl, and add the lemon juice and vinegar. Mix with a fork allowing the salt to dissolve, then add the oil and whisk with a fork until well combined. The dressing should be thick with garlic and oregano. If you’re using a small head of iceberg, transfer 1/3 the dressing into a small bowl to be used only if needed. For a larger head of iceberg, you’ll want it all.

Assemble salad: Gently fold the chickpeas, red onion, provolone, salami, pepperoncini (including seeds and juice) into the dressing, one at a time. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. Set aside until ready to serve.

To serve: When ready to serve, gently add the tomatoes, lettuce and radicchio to the salad bowl, along with a couple of generous pinches of oregano, and toss to combine with the dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding any reserved dressing if needed. Serve immediately.

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Hillstone Cole Slaw with Ding’s Pickle Relish

We love to eat at Hillstone and my husband is especially fond of their cole slaw. They quietly sell the special Ding’s relish that goes into the dressing. There are so many great flavors in this dressing. I used one batch of dressing for a half of head of savoy cabbage and it was perfect.

⅓ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons drained pickle relish
1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 teaspoons drained prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2½ cups finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup finely shredded savoy cabbage
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup finely chopped scallion greens


Whisk mayonnaise, relish, buttermilk, horseradish, mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add green and savoy cabbages, parsley, and scallion greens and toss to coat. Taste and season again with salt and pepper.

Greenest Goddess Dressing and Dip

From the wonderful new cookbook, Tartine All Day! The addition of avocado to the original makes this recipe amazing. I also added a little lemon zest because I love it.

3/4 c. Mayonnaise
3/4 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
3 T. finely chopped fresh Tarragon
1/4 c. finely chopped Italian Parsley
2 T. finely chopped fresh Chives or Scallions
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 olive oil or salt packed Anchovies, rinsed and finely chopped
1 ripe Avocado, halved, peeled, cut into quarters
3 T. finely chopped Carrot tops (optional-I did not use as I did not have them!)
1/4 t. Sea Salt
Ground Black Pepper to taste
Combine everything in a blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with crudités or as a salad dressing.

Sharon’s Caesar Salad Dressing-the best!

This recipe comes from my friend Sharon who is a wonderful cook. She has been perfecting it for 30 years! I am a huge anchovy fan and try new kinds often. My favorite kind is Scalia which may be hard to find.
sharons-caesar-dressing
1-2 garlic cloves, to taste
1 can of anchovies, with oil
1 T. worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. good olive oil, I love California Extra Virgin
1 T. mayonnaise
dash of red wine vinegar, optional

Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated to taste

In a blender add the first four ingredients and blend well. Add mayonnaise and vinegar if using. Chill and serve with good croutons and romaine and Parmesan cheese.

Easy Caponata

From David Leibowitz’s blog-one of my favorite end of the summer dishes!
Caponata is meant to be a touch sweet, a tad vinegary. I added more than Fabrizia but since vinegars can vary in strength, you can taste and add more later in the game. The original recipe made quite a bit of caponata and and I reduced the recipe by half. (Some might say you can never have enough caponata, but because of the concentrated flavors, a little goes a long way.) It keeps very well in the refrigerator, so if you wish you can double the recipe.
Easy caponata
3 branches celery (tough outer strings removed, if necessary)
Vegetable oil (or olive oil), about 1 cup (250ml), for frying
1 pound (450g) eggplant
salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup (60g) green olives, pitted and very coarsely chopped (about in thirds)
2 tablespoons (30g) capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225ml) best-quality tomato sauce
3 tablespoons (40ml) wine vinegar, red or white
1/2 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Chopped flat-leaf parsley or mint, for serving
1. Remove the leaves from the celery branches and cut the branches into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) thick slices. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a low boil and simmer the celery until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse well in cold water. Set aside.

2. Trim the stems off eggplant and cut into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.

3. In a large, heavy-duty skillet (I used cast iron) heat 3/4-inch (2cm) of vegetable or olive oil. Cook the eggplant in batches, not crowding too many into the pan at once, turning them occasionally, until they are browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with salt, then fry the rest of the eggplant in batches, seasoning them with salt as you remove them from the oil. You’ll likely need to add more oil to the pan as you go. (I ended up using a total of 1 cup/250ml.)

4. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until wilted and starting to turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the parboiled celery, olives, capers, tomato sauce, vinegar, honey, and red pepper flakes. Let come to a low boil then add the eggplant.

5. Cook the mixture at a simmer, stirring carefully so as not to mash up the eggplant pieces, for 3 to 4 minutes. Taste, and add additional salt if desired, and perhaps another splash of vinegar. Remove from heat and transfer the caponata to a large, shallow serving platter or bowl and cool.

Serving and storage: Caponata is best served the next day, so the ingredients and flavors have time to meld. Top with chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh mint. It also makes a nice topping for crostini: Pile it atop grilled bread that’s been brushed with olive oil before grilling,

Best Chicken Salad

This is a simple basic and delicious chicken salad that tastes like velvet from Julia Moskin of the NY TimesVelvet Chicken Salad. My favorite quote in the article is “Whether eaten with a fork or in a sandwich, when made with care and good ingredients, chicken salad has a delicious dignity.” Definitely make it four hours ahead, it will not disappoint! I used creme fraiche instead of sour cream and loved it’s richness. Obviously, you do not need to make 4# of chicken salad, just adjust the recipe for the amount of chicken salad that you want to make.
Best Chicken Salad

About 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 scallions, cut into thirds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 lemon, halved
⅔ cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s, Best Foods or homemade
¼ cup sour cream or crème fraîche, more to taste
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon brine from a jar of pickles, optional
2 or 3 pale green celery ribs, cut into medium (1/4-inch) dice
½ cup minced onion or finely sliced scallion, optional
½ cup walnut or pecan halves, broken into bite-size pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, parsley, or chives, plus extra for garnish
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Choose a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a tightfitting lid. It should be large enough to hold the chicken snugly, but not much bigger. Fill pot about 2/3 full with cold water, but don’t put the chicken in yet. Boil some extra water in a teakettle.
Add scallions and peppercorns to water, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and slip chicken pieces into the hot water. If needed, add boiling water from the kettle to cover chicken with water by 2 inches. Replace the lid and let chicken rest in the hot water for about 2 hours. Do not turn the flame back on: The pot will retain enough heat to cook chicken thoroughly and safely. (To test, cut into 1 piece of chicken and check the meat near the bone. If it is still pink, return the pot to low heat, bring the water to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes more.)
Lift chicken out of the pot. Remove and discard bones, skin and fat. Pat the meat dry with paper towels, then cut or shred into small bite-size pieces and transfer to a bowl. (Meanwhile, simmer cooking liquid until tasty, strain and refrigerate or freeze to use as chicken stock.)
In a bowl, whisk together juice of 1/2 lemon, mayonnaise and sour cream. If using, whisk in mustard or brine. Taste and adjust the seasonings and thickness to your liking. Pour over chicken, scraping the bowl clean with a rubber spatula.
Add celery, onion if using, nuts, herbs and salt and pepper. Toss gently but thoroughly. Refrigerate, covered, at least 4 hours. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with herbs before serving.

Cole Slaw

From Food 52-this is such a simple recipe and it has a wonderful flavor. I like my cabbage shredded rather than sliced but it is up to you, whichever you prefer! You can dress this cole slaw up with any other vegetables and/or herbs but it is delicious as is. I love how the buttermilk and sour cream mix together. Feel free to add more cider vinegar if you prefer it more tart.
Slaw from Food 52
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 T.+ apple cider vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 T. salt
small head of cabbage
1 small red onion
Combine sour cream through salt for the dressing. Shred or slice the cabbage and finely slice the red onion. Combine!

Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad

I watched the Barefoot Contessa make this on the Food Network and was salivating before she finished so I had to try it! I love the Israeli couscous-it is so pretty and takes on the flavors easily. I made a half recipe and it was plenty for at least three or four people. I never add as much salt as called for as I would rather add it as I eat it than over salt. I used red onions instead of scallions and the olives I had on hand and also added celery for extra crunch.
Israeli Couscous and Tuna
2 cups Israeli couscous (10 to 12 ounces)
2 (7-ounce) cans or jars Italian tuna, drained and flaked
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, medium-diced (4 ounces)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped scallions (6-8 scallions)
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. (I pull the pot halfway off the heat.) Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the tuna, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, olives, red peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl. Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of the 1/2 lemon, and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Taste for seasonings and serve warm or at room temperature.

Quinoa with mushrooms, asparagus and feta

I don’t think a week goes by that I do not cook from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste. So many of their recipes are appealing to me and delicious! I used cremini mushrooms and added about a half of a pound. I had leftover asparagus that was blanched from last night and used that instead of a whole pound of asparagus. I love the sweetness from the currants and the balsamic vinegar. This can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

Quinoa with mushrooms, asparagus, feta

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) olive oil, plus more for dish and for drizzling

1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) red quinoa

2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml.) chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) dried currants

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 small red onion, halved and sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 lb. (500 g.) asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces

1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 oz. (125 g.) feta cheese, crumbled

 

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Oil a 3-qt. (3-l.) baking dish.

 

In a saucepan, bring the quinoa and 2 cups (16 fl. oz./250 ml.) of the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the currants, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, but keep covered to stay warm.

In a large frying pan, heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 4-6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and toss to coat with the oil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is fork-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, parsley, lemon zest and half of the feta. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining feta, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Winter Vinaigrette

This is another winner from the Barefoot Contessa and I really love it this time of year when the citrus is wonderful and it goes well with all of the winter vegetables -fennel, arugula, avocado, orange, apples, nuts and dried cranberries.

3 T. good apple cider vinegar

1 t. grated orange zest

2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice

2 1/2 t. Dijon mustard

2 T. maple syrup

sea salt to taste

1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

2/3 c. olive oil

Whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, Dijon, maple syrup, s&p in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. I put this mixture in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.