White Winter Salad

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Winter salad2Cauliflower is having it’s moment right now, but we were introduced to shaved cauliflower salads a couple of years ago by Serge Madikians of Serevan (our favorite Dutchess County restaurant), and we immediately fell in love. This salad is fresh and light, a wondrous blend of anise flavored fennel, crunchy Asian pear, and nutty-fruity Parmesan cheese. Just forget the rule that deep-colored vegetables are the healthiest–cauliflower rivals kale in health benefits.

Winter white Mise en placeMise en place. The dressing is so simple and so tasty.

White winter processWe slice the vegetables very thinly.

White Winter Salad

4 servings
1/3 cup slivered almonds
4 tablespoons white balsamic or Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons walnut oil (or grapeseed oil)
Kosher Salt
White pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
4 cups shaved cauliflower (very thinly sliced with a mandoline or a knife)
1/2 cup shaved fennel (very thinly sliced with a mandoline or a knife)
1/2 Asian pear, peeled and cut into thin slices
1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Place the almonds in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Cook until they just begin to brown, shaking the pan and stirring so they do not burn, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a plate to cool. Chop roughly and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, or a jar with a tight lid, combine the vinegar, mustard, oil, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk or shake vigorously until emulsified.

In a salad bowl, combine the cauliflower and fennel. Add some of the dressing and toss gently. Add the toasted almonds, Asian pear, Parmesan cheese, and more dressing to taste, and toss once more. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Winter salad2 copy

Mesclun Greens with Persimmons, Pistachios, and Manchego Cheese

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Second plated persimmons saladIMG_2406

We love adding fruit to our greens and we’re thrilled that it’s Persimmon season once again. Referred to as “the fruit of the gods,” persimmons are deliciously sweet with a delicate, honey-like flavor.

Historically, persimmons were not a fruit our family was familiar with. It was that exotic one that would turn up in a fruit basket and we weren’t exactly sure how to eat it—how do you know when it is ripe, do you eat it whole, does it need to be peeled? After some experimentation we determined the Fuyo persimmons (as opposed to the Hachiya) would work best in a salad. Paired with the toasted pistachios, and the rich and slightly salty Manchego cheese, the combination of these flavors together are scrumptious.

PersimmonsWe discovered persimmons are ripe when they are a rich orange color and still firm. We peel and slice them into thin wedges.

Pistachios and manchego cheese persimmons saladThe combination of the toasted pistachio nuts, Manchego cheese, and persimmons is delicious.

Mesclun Greens with Persimmons, Pistachios, and Manchego Cheese
4 servings

3 tablespoons shelled pistachio nuts
Sea salt
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons very finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces mesclun greens
1/2 cup shaved Manchego cheese
2 firm but ripe Fuyo persimmons, peeled, halved, and sliced into thin wedges

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Spread the pistachio nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In a small bowl add 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, the vinegar, and shallots and mix well.

Add the mustard, olive oil, and black pepper to taste. Whisk until emulsified.

Place the mesclun greens in a large salad bowl. Add half of the persimmon slices. Pour half of the dressing over the greens and persimmons and toss. Add more dressing to taste and toss again.

Place the dressed greens on individual salad plates. Arrange the remaining persimmon slices on each salad, sprinkle with pistachio nuts, top with the Manchego cheese, and serve.

Persimmons saladIMG_2397

 

 

 

 

Mini Vegetarian Caesar Salad Parmesan Cups

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Mini Caesar crop

We took one of our family favorites, our Vegetarian Caesar Salad, and made it into a delicious and delightful party appetizer. The crispy Parmesan cup serves as the bowl for the crunchy romaine, tangy dressing, and mini croutons. Here’s a salad you can happily eat by hand.

 

Parm on Silpat

Parm shaping

Parm cupsMelt and mold, then let the Parmesan cups cool.

coutons processMini croutons.

Mini Vegetarian Caesar Salad Parmesan Cups
6 to 8 servings

For the Parmesan Cups
1 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (do not use pre-grated)

For the Croutons
1 cup day old bread (peasant, baguette, or multigrain) cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

For the Dressing and Salad
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vegetarian steak or Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon capers
2 cups chiffonade romaine hearts (or cut into thin strips)

For the Parmesan Cups
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set out 6 shot glasses, small water bottles, or miniature muffin tins.

Working in 2 batches, spoon 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the grated cheese onto the mat or parchment paper, creating 6 mounds, spaced 1-inch apart. Gently pat down the top of the cheese with your fingers.

Bake for 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Turn off the oven, open the oven door and, leave the sheet pan on the rack until the cheese stops bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spatula, quickly remove each Parmesan round (one at a time) and place on the reserved glass, bottle, or tin, shaping it with your hands to form a cup. Let cool and remove the cups to a platter.

Set the oven back to 350° F. and repeat for the second batch.

For the Croutons
Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a medium size bowl, combine the bread cubes, olive oil, and garlic. Mix together until the bread is coated. Spread the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until golden, flipping once halfway through. Set aside.

For the Dressing
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Very slowly pour the oil into the bowl, whisking until the mixture has emulsified. Whisk in the lemon juice and steak sauce, and stir in the capers.

To Assemble
Fill each Parmesan cup with some of the romaine, top with 1 teaspoon of the dressing, sprinkle with 3 or 4 croutons, and serve.

Parm cup close-up

5 Tasty Crunches for Your Salad That Aren’t Croutons: Nutritious and Gluten Free

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All the toppings

We all love salads—big salads for dinner, smaller servings as sides. And we love interesting ingredients; different leafy greens, assorted vegetables, slices of fruit. But there is something about having some crunch in your salad that takes the culinary sensation to a whole different level.

We admit it––croutons on salad are delicious. But we don’t always want the empty calories of white bread, or perhaps we are serving some of our gluten free friends, or don’t eat gluten ourselves.

Not only do these 5 delicious crunchy salad toppings add great taste and texture to your salad, they provide an extra-super nutritious boost. You won’t miss the croutons at all.

 

Crispy Quinoa
Roasted Chickpeas
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Parmesan Crisp Bits
Caramelized Walnuts

Watercress, Fennel, Orange, and Watermelon Radish Salad with Feta Cheese

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salad with fork

This salad is gorgeous to serve and delicious to eat. It uses watermelon radishes, a variety that is pale on the outside but vibrant pink on the inside. They taste crisp and fresh, with a delicate, piquant bite. The watermelon radishes make a striking base for this salad, and pair deliciously with the slightly sweet fennel, peppery watercress, salty feta, and citrusy orange slices. The end result is this beautiful dish that’s refreshing and delightful.

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 1.55.27 PM

A mandoline slicer works well for this salad, or you can simply slice very thinly with a good knife.

citris

We segment the oranges and make the dressing before assembling.

Watercress, Fennel, and Watermelon Radish Salad with Feta Cheese
4 servings

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large watermelon radish, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
1 bunch watercress, trimmed
1 fennel bulb, cored, and sliced into very thin strips
1 Cara Cara (or naval) orange, segmented
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

For the Dressing
In a glass jar with a lid, or in a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake or whisk to emulsify.

For the Salad
Place the watermelon radishes in a shallow bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Arrange the radishes on individual salad plates.

Place the watercress in a medium mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Arrange a mound of greens on top of the radishes.

Top each with some fennel strips, orange segments, and crumpled feta cheese. Drizzle with a little more dressing and serve.

Watermelon Radish salad no nuts

Mango, Avocado, Tomato, and Arugula Salad

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Mango avo finished

During the hot summer months we love fruit focused salads served on a bed of greens. Our Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata was such a hit with our families that we decided to create a yummy variation on that theme– this time adding some greens, switching out the peach for mango, and adding the sweet, soft, buttery crunch of Marcona almonds. This salad gets thumbs up all around.

 

mise         Mise en Place

Oil stream copyWhisking the dressing

Mango Avo double photoFresh from the market

 Mango, Avocado, Tomato and Arugula Salad

4 servings

For the Dressing
1 teaspoon chopped shallot
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad
2 bunches arugula
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 ripe mango, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 avocado, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup roasted Marcona almonds, (or any blanched and roasted almonds)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze or Saba
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

For the Dressing
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the shallot and vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream, whisking until completely emulsified. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

For the Salad
Place the arugula in a bowl and add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Assemble slices of tomato on 4 individual salad plates. Mound arugula on top of the tomatoes and then alternate slices of mango and avocado. Add some of the almonds, drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze, and sprinkle with the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

mango avo close up

Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata

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Peach

This simple salad combines summer’s riches–local peaches and tomatoes–at the height of their abundance and lushness. The lemon vinaigrette adds a tart note, while the avocado and ricotta salata provide a creamy mellowness.

mise en place peach

sliced peach etc crop

 

Tomato, Peach, and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata
4 servings

For the Vinaigrette
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad
2 peaches, very thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, very thinly sliced
2 avocados, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup crumbled ricotta salata
20 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

In a glass jar with a lid or in a small mixing bowl, combine the oils, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, 1 / 8 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Shake the jar vigorously, or whisk to emulsify.

Divide the sliced peaches, tomatoes, and avocados among 4 plates, add the crumbled ricotta salata, the basil, and drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

crop peach salad

 

 

Chopped Market Salad With Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

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Chopped Salad Updated Cover Photo

We crave salads—especially in the spring and summer when the warm weather cries out for lighter meals. Paired with a crusty loaf of whole grain bread they are perfect for lunch or dinner. We particularly love chopped salads– because you can chop any vegetable and add it to your salad and you know it’s going to be delicious–and the beauty of this salad is you can substitute any fresh seasonal vegetables that you find at your farmer’s market or grocery store.

In this colorful Chopped Market Salad we’ve combined Romaine lettuce, lots of peppers (so healthy!), sweet green peas, chickpeas, Gruyere cheese, and walnuts.
One of our current obsessions is walnut oil and it tastes so good in this vinaigrette. In addition to its rich and nutty flavor, it’s filled with those healthy omega 3’s that we can never get enough of! Pair it with the toasted chopped walnuts and you have double the omega 3’s. Who could ask for more? We added Gruyere cheese which has that sweet and slightly salty flavor so it complements the walnut oil perfectly.

This is one of those salads that is great for entertaining. You can prep all your ingredients in advance, add your dressing right before serving–and it’s ready to go.

Chopped Salad Peppers

Chopped Salad LettuceWe love the Romaine lettuce in this salad. Its crunchy texture is great with the peppers.

Chopped Salad Ingredients

 

Chopped Market Salad With Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
4 servings

1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup walnut oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce, 1/2 inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper chopped into ¼ inch pieces (1 cup)
1 large orange bell or yellow bell pepper chopped into 1/4 inch pieces (1 cup)
1/3 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 ounces Gruyere cheese cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Preheat the oven to 350° F
Place the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and toast them until they begin to brown and give off a nutty aroma, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly whisk in the oil. Season with 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste.

For the salad
Put the chopped lettuce in a large salad bowl. Add the chopped peppers, peas, garbanzo beans, and cheese. Pour in half the dressing and toss. Add the walnuts and more dressing to taste (taking care not to overdress) and toss again.

Bulgogi Beef Salad

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Bulgogi Beef

As you must know by now, we love salad! As the weather gets warmer, we especially love a big salad for dinner. Often we top our salads with sliced chicken, a beautiful piece of grilled fish or, if it is Meatless Monday, tofu to create a full meal.

We were in the mood to try something different, something with steak. We had eaten and loved Thai beef salad many times and wondered how a salad would taste prepared with a Korean style beef. We have always loved Korean Barbecue, particularly Bulgogi. The combination of the tender slices of meat, with the sweet and salty marinade is irresistible. It turns out; this is a crazy good combination. For those who don’t eat beef, chicken or tofu would be delicious too!

The key to success when preparing the beef is to slice as thinly as possible. That is why we recommend freezing the meat beforehand. This makes slicing so much easier. Sprinkling sugar on the meat gives it that beautiful caramel coloring when sautéed.

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 To make the garlic sugar paste, a mortar and pestle works beautifully, but you can also use a fork as an alternative.

mortar and pestle

 

We love using radishes and hot Fresno peppers on the salad. This spicy combination pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the beef, but most any vegetable works well, so feel free to improvise.

Bulgogi veg

Bulgogi Beef Salad

4 servings

1 1/4 pounds beef tenderloin (you can also use sirloin)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the Marinade
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar to make a paste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2 small heads Bibb lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 radishes, sliced into rounds
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into half moons
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cooked, shelled edamame beans
1 Fresno chili pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

For the Dressing
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped

Freeze the beef for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to an hour. This will make the beef easier to slice thinly.

Remove the beef from the freezer and slice as thinly as possible. Layer the slices of beef in a large casserole dish, sprinkling the two teaspoons of sugar over each layer.

In a small bowl combine the 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, the garlic paste, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and stir. Rub the marinade all over the beef and set aside.

For the Dressing
In a glass jar with a lid, or a small mixing bowl, combine the grape seed oil, the rice wine vinegar, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh mint, and shake vigorously or whisk in the bowl to emulsify.

For the Beef
Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering. Raise the heat to medium-high and fry the meat in a single layer until nicely browned, about 15 to 20 seconds per side. Remove the cooked meat to a platter and continue until all of the meat is fried, set aside.

For the Salad
In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with half of the dressing to coat, adding more to taste. Put the lettuce into individual shallow bowls or plates. Top each salad with carrots, radishes, cucumbers, red onion slices, and edamame. Place the beef slices on top of each salad, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of fresh mint, and serve.

Bulgogi finished

Pollan Signature Salad

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We call this our Signature salad because it really is our signature. We not only serve this at all of our large family gatherings but we also bring it to many potluck dinners. The wonderful thing about this salad is that it’s so easy to swap out the greens or the fruit depending on the season. It’s delicious with peaches, apples and Asian pears. We sometimes use arugula, romaine or Boston lettuce. The caramelized walnuts can be substituted with pecans, hazelnuts, cashews…the list goes on. The key to this salad is the addictive dressing, it is light, crisp, and both vinegary and sweet. The mix of ingredients in this salad comes together in a beautiful way.

salad

6 servings
For the dressing
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
5 to 7 ounces mesclun or mixed baby greens
1/2 cup chopped Caramelized Walnuts
1/2 Bosc pear (cut lengthwise), cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

For the Dressing
In a glass jar with a lid or in a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegars, mustard,
grapeseed oil, olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Shake the jar vigorously or whisk in the bowl to emulsify.
For the Salad
Place the mesclun in a large salad bowl. Pour on half the dressing and toss the greens to coat. Add the walnuts, pear, and more dressing to taste (taking care not to overdress) and toss again. Top with the Parmesan cheese shavings and serve.