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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #79: Resurrecting and Rethinking Summer Salads, Summer Food’s Unpopular Kid

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I've been making my version of Caesar salad for years, but it was only yesterday that I decided to grill the romaine and make it a true "summer" salad.  I've grilled lettuce before, just never dressed with my traditional take on Caesar salad.

 

I make homemade croutons starting with whatever loaf of bread looks good in the bakery. I try a softer loaf like French or Italian and cut big size croutons.  The ones in a bag are too puny.  After I cut the croutons I put them in the oven to dry out and start to crisp. I like a softer bread for croutons because they soak up the copious amounts of melted butter and garlic olive oil that I drench them with before baking them a second time in the oven to crisp them. 

 

The dressing is:

 1 1/2 cups garlic olive oil, (just olive oil to which I add many cloves of grated garlic)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 2oz. can flat anchovies, chopped, (and add the oil in the can to the dressing)

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, (I used to use dry mustard, but the Dijon has much more flavor)

2 tbsp. Worcestershire (a LOT of Worcestershire)

2 tsp. chopped capers

1 coddled egg (I take risks with eggs, coddling it just barely sets the white)

Fresh oregano

Fresh chives

Salt and plenty of cracked black pepper

 

When I make a regular Caesar I use both romaine and butter lettuce.  This time just romaine, cut in half, brushed with olive oil and grilled about 3 minutes to get a bit of char and smokey flavor.  I've started to thinly shave the cheese because I think it's a more delicate texture than grated cheese and blends better into the dressing.  I used parmesan this time, but prefer the stronger tang of Asiago.

 

Grilled Caesar Close-up.JPG

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, David Ross said:

The dressing is:

Wow. That’s more than 2 cups of dressing.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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2 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

And a whole can of anchovies!

 

As someone who just put the same 2oz tin of anchovies into a sauce* with a 3/4 cup yield, I'm not sure how to reply to this. 

 

* Caper-Raisin Vinaigrette from Six Seasons

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Well yesterday the plan was to make my summer version of a potato salad.  I've been making this potato salad for about 15 years.  I created it by accident really when some some friends were planning a big summer outdoor party.  I remember thinking potato salad but how could I do it different?  It's just small potatoes, red, fingerling or baby Yukon golds that I boil until tender and chill.  Then I make homemade mayonnaise using a Greek olive oil because it has a peppery flavor and is more fragrant than other olive oils and the mayonnaise has this vibrant yellow color.  Then in goes some diced red pepper, Kalamata or other good olive, (sometimes I use little French nicoise olives or dry-cured black olives), chives or green onions, capers and little haricot vert green beans.  We don't usually see fresh haricot vert in the markets so the frozen ones work pretty well. 

 

But then I started thinking, what about using those little baby Yukon Golds that I roasted under a chicken the night  before?  I know, it doesn't sound right to roast a chicken in the oven when it's 103 outside, but I was craving roast chicken and potatoes.  I had a lot of roasted potatoes left over and they had roasted in all those delicious chicken juices and fat.

And instead of making homemade mayonnaise, (or using bottled mayonnaise), I thought I might try the leftover Caesar Salad dressing from the Grilled Caesar I did a few days back.  Oh and some of the oregano I have growing out of control in a planter on the back porch.  So to be trendy I'll call it a Roast Potato Summer Salad.  Much different from the traditional potato salad but a delicious alternative.

Roasted Potato Caesar Salad.JPG

 

 

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@David Ross  I like your potato use. I started cooking mine for salad in a flavored/vinegared water. Adding that flavor during cooking really makes the potato more of the star of it own salad rather than just a vehicle. 

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

@David Ross  I like your potato use. I started cooking mine for salad in a flavored/vinegared water. Adding that flavor during cooking really makes the potato more of the star of it own salad rather than just a vehicle. 

 

Oh, I LIKE that idea. Proportions of vinegar:water?

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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16 hours ago, kayb said:

 

Oh, I LIKE that idea. Proportions of vinegar:water?

 

 

I got the idea from Kenji's VERY detailed potato salad analysis here  https://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/the-food-lab-how-to-make-the-best-potato-salad-done-right.html

 

Of course being the "just enough" anti-measuring goof that I am I just add a decent splash of plain old white or cide vinegar and don't use sugar.

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"decent splash" works. I can go from there! Thanks!

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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The recipe calls for one tablespoon vinegar per quart as well as one tablespoon salt.

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During the summer I sometimes make a warm potato salad by steaming baby or nugget potatoes, adding green beans for the last 5 or 6 minutes and then immediately mixing those with tomatoes, feta cheese, white or sweet onion and quickly tossing with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Usually most or all of the veggies will be from the local farms. It's not hugely original and it could probably be dressed up more, but it's something we really enjoy now and then. If I have fresh basil, I might throw that on top. 

 

Last night was not hot, but it was warm and neither of us cared if we had meat or not. So we each had a plate of the above mix. Sometimes I chop it up more or use cherry tomatoes. It's a simple thing, but I have to say when the produce is right, it's one of my fave summer salads. 

 

Composed. 

IMGP6598.thumb.JPG.c3c3a0e57b3133a7c40d7054b3fd3305.JPG

 

Lightly mixed, with dressing. 

IMGP6602.thumb.JPG.6e012bab8be02c9f144f6d14a2f0b34c.JPG

 

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One of my favorite summer salads, when the tomatoes finally come in, is a Caprese salad. We keep basil out on the deck, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the pantry, and for special occasions we'll buy thinly-sliced salami and mozzarella cheese. When the season is right, nothing IMO can be simpler - or finer. Well, it's even better with fresh, warm sourdough bread.

 

20180816_224639.jpg

 

This picture is actually from a sailboat cruise last summer, but I stumbled over it earlier today and think it's worth sharing.

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Another one of our Cook-Off's that's up for another round of discussions this summer.  This morning I started making one of my favorite summer salads, small baby red potatoes with green beans, roasted red bell pepper, Kalamata olives and capers tossed in a freshly made mayonnaise with fresh oregano from the garden.  The mayonnaise is chilling in the fridge right now.  Any new summer salads you'll be trying this year?

 

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Posted (edited)

I tend to improvise and use what is around. Yesterday, after having @shain salad on my mind I took a look around.  Leftover marinated Persian cucumber, a can of decent corn, green onion, colorful little tomatoes, a tart green apple, and the ricotta I made the other day were dressed with nuoc mam (always in fridge) and some grassy olive oil. No fresh herbs so I crumble in Mexican oregano. Also inspired by the same member's generous spice use I added touches of cumin and pumpkin pie spice.  Garnished with dry roasted peanuts. It was lunch and dinner with my whole grain no-knead. 

 


Edited by heidih Forgot the green apple (log)
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My very favorite summer salad is asparagus, cut in inch-long lengths and blanched; mushrooms, dry-fried and then poached in white wine; green peas, blanched just briefly and shocked; and hearts of palm. Dressing of good olive oil and red wine vinegar. Parmesan grated over the top. Served on sliced tomatoes.

 

Also good without the hearts of palm.

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, heidih said:

I tend to improvise and use what is around. Yesterday, after having @shain salad on my mind I took a look around.  Leftover marinated Persian cucumber, a can of decent corn, green onion, colorful little tomatoes, a tart green apple, and the ricotta I made the other day were dressed with nuoc mam (always in fridge) and some grassy olive oil. No fresh herbs so I crumble in Mexican oregano. Also inspired by the same member's generous spice use I added touches of cumin and pumpkin pie spice.  Garnished with dry roasted peanuts. It was lunch and dinner with my whole grain no-knead. 

 

 

That's a unique flavor combination, I particularly love the idea of apples with Thai salad flavors.


Edited by shain (log)
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~ Shai N.

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32 minutes ago, shain said:

 

That's a unique flavor combination, I particularly love the idea of apples with Thai salad flavors.

 

 

Well no green mango lurking so one uses instinct ';)  Convention has never been my path

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3 hours ago, kayb said:

My very favorite summer salad is asparagus, cut in inch-long lengths and blanched; mushrooms, dry-fried and then poached in white wine; green peas, blanched just briefly and shocked; and hearts of palm. Dressing of good olive oil and red wine vinegar. Parmesan grated over the top. Served on sliced tomatoes.

 

Also good without the hearts of palm.

 

 

Sounds delicious and I'm glad you mentioned hearts of palm, a reminder that I need to have some.

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, David Ross said:

Sounds delicious and I'm glad you mentioned hearts of palm, a reminder that I need to have some.

 

To me they always have a tin taste from the can even when rinsed. I'll take them in a pinch but raise you a fresh banana blossom https://tablewithoutborders.com/2017/03/02/banana-blossoms/  The  allure of  "hearts of palm" reminds me of the tea rooms where elegant ladies lunched.


Edited by heidih (log)

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1 hour ago, heidih said:

To me they always have a tin taste from the can even when rinsed. I'll take them in a pinch but raise you a fresh banana blossom https://tablewithoutborders.com/2017/03/02/banana-blossoms/  The  allure of  "hearts of palm" reminds me of the tea rooms where elegant ladies lunched.

 

That's a good idea for a summer salad and one of our local Asian markets sometimes has banana blossoms so I'll see what I can come up with for using them in a salad.

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