Salad Recipes

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Salad Nicoise  Recipe

Salad Nicoise

09.02.09 by Jackie

If you're ever fortunate enough to go to Paris, you are bound to walk by many sidewalk cafés, brasseries, bistros and the like. As ubiquitous are the chalkboards that guard the entrances to these eateries, calling out the specials of the day. On almost all of them, you will find salade niçoise.

This is not the tuna salad that one traditionally finds in America, slathered in mayonnaise and sweet pickles. Salade niçoise hails from the Côte d'Azur; region of France, and is named after the city of Nice. It is a combination of tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, eggs and canned tuna packed in oil. It is typically topped with anchovies and Dijon vinaigrette.   Like many French dishes, the name may evoke visions of elegance and glamour, but in reality the dish is the result of the vegetables and proteins available in that region of France. Put another way, it's really just a fancy way of describing a tossed salad from Nice.

I personally love this dish, because it is easy to make and perfectly captures the flavors of  the Mediterranean. It won't replace the traditional American-style tuna salad, but instead provide you with a healthier alternative.


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Cashew Pesto Radiatore Pasta Salad Recipe

Radiatore pasta look very similar to rotini shaped pasta but they're shorter, with a ruffled edge. Whenever I cook this particular shape of pasta, I know the dish will be devoured. There is just something about the shape of this pasta that kids love. And grown-ups who are like kids, like my Lulu, love it as well. 

We planned a last-minute picnic and I needed to come up with a quick and tasty dish that everyone could enjoy. Pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser and with the help of my sisters-in-law, I threw together the radiatore pasta with a cilantro lime cashew pesto sauce, with some roasted walnuts added for texture. To this, I incorporated vegetables, specifically broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes. I had bought really cute perlini mozzarella balls and I added them to the dish, because who can say no to cheese?

For the non-vegetarians, there was some smoked salmon. I like smoked salmon in pasta salad because it works so well cold and is tastier than canned tuna or boiled chicken.


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Carpaccio de Radis (Radish Salad with Herb-Infused Olive Oil) Recipe

I love red radishes. It's such an under-utilized and under-appreciated vegetable. The taste is clean, crisp, and mild. Unlike daikon or other kinds of radishes, they don't have a harsh mustardy flavor. Traditional carpaccio is thin slices of raw meat or fish, but I made a "carpaccio" out of the radishes by thinly slicing them with a mandoline.

In France, we would simply eat them with good quality butter, salt and pepper. Since the butter here in the US isn't as flavorful as the yellow butter produced by the grass-fed cows in France, I decided to liven up the dish with a truffle-Meyer lemon vinaigrette to make it more appealing. I drizzled Italian flat-leaf parsley-flavored oil for color. I chose flat-leaf parsley because it has a much milder flavor than cilantro. I wanted the radishes to be the focus of the dish and not be overpowered by other ingredients.


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Simple Green Bean Salad with Toasted Sliced Almonds and Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe

Green bean salad is probably the simplest, healthiest dish you can make. I usually serve it as a first course or as a side dish accompanying a roasted chicken or any other white meat.

As with other easy dishes, the key is to use good, fresh ingredients. I got some crisp haricots verts fins from the local market. Haricots verts fins literally means thin string beans in French; they are much more tender than regular green beans.

For an added contrast of texture, I added some toasted, sliced almonds and some coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes to bring a tart, acidic flavor. 

What I love about this dish is that you can mix and match green beans with anything, such as wax beans (called haricots beurres in French). Just select an ingredient that will create an appealing color contrast: nuts, capers, feta cheese or even anchovies all work well.


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Ginger and Cilantro Sweet Corn Salad Recipe

This recipe was inspired by Daddy's friend's wife, Anu Auntie. We had a scrumptious dinner at her home while we were visiting the East Coast last month. The dinner was so delicious, and in particular she prepared a ginger corn salad that was out of this world.  It was sweet, a bit spicy and had very complex Asian flavors. 

Corn is in season and it is very inexpensive right now at my local market. It's only a dollar for 4 ears. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to attempt to recreate this wonderful corn salad. I steamed and grilled the corn, cut ooff the kernels, and seasoned them with a lot of Asian flavors like ginger, soy sauce, cilantro and plum sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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