Here’s a great way to refresh your day with a very nice shrimp and rice noodle salad. It takes only a little time to make and it has just about everything you can ask for — shrimp, asparagus, some carrots and some mushrooms, all done over the fantastic rice noodles. You really can’t beat this dish.
I believe the original for this came probably from the food channel, but for a number of reasons, I really didn’t have a grill handy, so I just simply gave the shrimp its bit of marinade and finished it in a very nice hot saute pan. Worked just as well as the grill, and unless you’re really into that smoked taste, I’d say they’re about equal. Like the man sometimes says: Use what you’ve got.
The rest of the salad is pretty easy.
Chicken salad. What can you say about it? Get some leftover chicken, or maybe some fresh, through some mayo and a handful of spices at it, and you’ve got chicken salad, right? Um. No. There is a right way to do a chicken salad and I’ve found it. No kidding. If you’ve never had a sous vide machine (or don’t think you need one), if you like chicken salad, this is the truly only way to make it. Yup. Sous Vide Chicken Salad. So good.
First, my recipe is below, and you can follow that or make up your own. It’s pretty good, especially if, like me, you like a very nice touch of tarragon.
The key here is how you get to that point. I used four chicken breasts (bone in and skin on), done to 150F degrees (65C), left in the sous vide container about an hour to 90 minutes. Remove them and place them immediately in an ice bath to stop the cooking (for maybe 15 minutes or so) and then refrigerate for at least an hour, so they can soak up the juices that come out of them during the cooking. When done this way, they come out perfectly done. I think the skin and bone adds some flavor, but that part isn’t necessary.by
Some day I’d love to see a book focused only on just simple salads. And this codfish salad could go right to the top of that list. As a general rule, in fact, I probably wouldn’t even post this dish here — but for the fact that it shows how even a very straightforward little sous vide can be a wonderful addition to a meal.
The guacamole is pretty simple, but feel free to add more — including a lot of spice if you like that. The salad, with or without a little light dressing is just about whatever you have available.by
I’m off on a short road trip, so the posts next week will be a little off-schedule, but before departing, I want to offer up this nice summer salad.
Yes, I know, we’ve been doing a lot of that lately, but hey, the farm markets are in full bloom and it’s hot, people. Really, this salad is one of my favorite summer treats. Seafood, pasta and a lot of good, fresh vegetables. It’s not something you want to miss.
The secret to the recipe is a light, lemony dressing that uses white balsamic vinegar, and the best extra virgin olive oil you can get your hands on. Everything else is straightforward, including the shrimp, which are sautéed in oil and flavored with a little lemon juice. The version in the recipe below is the basic formula, but like any good summer salad, you can add to it as the season goes along. Lightly sautéed zucchini is one of my favorite additions, and so is roasted corn kernels, especially with a little bell pepper.by
For some reason, I’ve seen a ton of steak salads recently in magazines, on television and on the web. I’m guessing that it has something to do with the time of year. On a very warm summer evening, a salad that’s worthy of a meal makes a lot of sense. In any case, this steak salad was adapted from several similar recipes I uncovered with a little research. It’s inspired by the flavors of Thailand (or maybe southeast Asia), and it will be showing up on our table frequently for the rest of the summer, you can be sure.
One of the things that makes this recipe interesting to me is that the steak marinade and the dressing are essentially the same. The marinade gets just a little more lime juice and a bit of fish sauce, both of which help tenderize the meat. I used flank steak mainly because it’s reasonably priced and generally always available, but I can think of some other cuts of beef that might work, including flat-iron or skirt steak, or maybe even top round steak.by
Ah, tomatoes. When I was growing up, my grandfather always had a dozen tomato plants in a little garden spot that actually was on a neighbor’s property (better sun) and from the early part of June I’d check them almost every day, first to trumpet the first tiny yellow blossoms, then the first little green fruits, and finally, the best day of all, when then first few tomatoes were ready for picking. Now, it’s the Saturday farm market, where the first ripe, local tomatoes are showing up. And that means it’s time for panzanella.
Panzanella (or at least the 20th century version) is a salad from Tuscany that’s designed to take advantage of fresh tomatoes. In its pure, traditional form, is it merely ripe, juicy tomatoes tossed with a little oil, vinegar, onions and chunks of stale crusty bread (which softens as it absorbs the tomato juices). Modern chefs have upped the ante by adding a host of other fresh ingredients, including fresh mozzarella, lemon juice, basil and other herbs, and garlic.by
Lamb makes fairly regular appearances on our home menu. It’s versatile and I think more flavorful than most other red meat. Lamb works very well with things like mint, rosemary, honey, vinegar, spices like cumin and cinnamon, and dark red fruits and berries. With those affinities, I can create or duplicate recipes that satisfy my taste for the odd bit of exotic without sending the rest of the family screaming out of the kitchen. It’s a win-win. Grilled lamb meatballs are a great illustration. In a household where traditional meatballs often get a “meh,” these are often requested. That’s fine with me, since they’re tasty, easy to make and evoke a middle eastern, mediterranean kind of vibe.by