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Gourmet Pastas and Sauces on-line

salad days
by Alice Ann Pazzaglia
(return to food)

This is a transitional time of year. Winter is beginning to fade and Spring is just around the corner. It is neither Winter nor Spring. It is in between. We are thinking ahead about looking great at the beach but we are still wearing our wool clothes.

What to eat? My suggestion is salad. Here are classic salads to eat as a whole dinner or as side dishes to meat, chicken or fish. Some make whole dinners, others accompany other food. They are all good and good for you.

Buon Appetito!

Pugliese Beet Salad with Fresh Mint
2 pounds beets (weigh after removing roots and greens), unpeeled
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded fresh mint

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook beets until fork tender, about 30 minutes for small beets. Remove from water and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slip off skins and cut beets into 1/4-inch slices.

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, coarse salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add beers and toss thoroughly. Gently fold mint into beers. Adjust seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Insalata di Barbietole, Noci e Gorgonzola - Beet, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad
6 small beets, trimmed (about 18 ounces)
6 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
3 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, pressed
Pinch of sugar
12 cups mixed baby greens
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (about 2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400�F. Wrap beets in foil, enclosing completely. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Peel and slice beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Whisk olive oil, Sherry wine vinegar, garlic and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine mixed greens, sliced green onions and beets in large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Divide salad among 6 plates. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts and serve.

6 Servings.

Insalata di Carciofo con Parmigiano - Artichoke and Parmesan Cheese Salad
6 artichokes
1 lemon, squeezed
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper
6 Tbs. Parmigiano Reggiano

Remove the stems, the outer leaves and all the hard parts of the leaves, leaving only the bottoms of the artichokes. Remove the choke, cut in thin slices and set in cold water and lemon until ready to use. Drain the artichokes, dress with salt oil, pepper and cover with parmigiano sliced thinly using a truffle cutter or a potato peeler so that the Parmigiano will curl up. Serve in a dinner plate,

Rose di Bresaola - Bresaola Rosettes
2 ounces bresaola, sliced paper thin
1 carrot, cut into thin coins
1 potato, boiled and sliced
16 steamed asparagus tips, cut lengthwise
6 cups baby greens, washed and dried
2 cups curly endive, washed and dried
5 ounces mozzarella bocconcini
2 slices bread, cubed and toasted
1 hard-boiled egg, shelled
3 salted anchovies, deboned and rinsed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Cucumber and Onion Salad
olive oil
lemon juice
salt & pepper
herbs (optional)

Slice cucumbers thin. Add sliced onions. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Salt and peper to taste. If you like herbs, sprinkle some of your favorite fresh herb on top.

Curl the bresaola into rosettes. Cut a lattice into the carrot coins using a knife with scalloped edges. Arrange the carrot, potato, asparagus, greens, endive, bresaola, bocconcini, and bread on a platter. Mix the hard-boiled egg, anchovies, olive oil, vinegar, 1/4 cup of cold water, salt, pepper, and parsley in a blender. Dress the salad and serve.

Serves 4

Insalata di Finocchio, Carciofi e Parmigiano - Fennel, Artichoke and Paremesan Salad
The method of preparing this salad is to create paper-thin shavings of vegetables, usually raw, tossed together and lightly dressed just before serving The variations are extensive (peppers, celery, and radishes are often added) and always fresh and satisfying.

2 large artichokes
2 lemons
2 large fennel bulbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
salt and pepper
1 piece Reggiano Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
About 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves

Pare the artichokes down to their hearts and scoop out the chokes with a spoon, dropping them into water acidulated with the juice of 1 of the lemons.

Cut off the feathery tops of the fennel at the base of their stalks and remove the outer layer of the bulbs. Slice the bulbs very thin with a mandolin, cheese shaver or a very sharp knife. Remove the artichoke hearts from the water and slice them very thin the same way.

Assemble the salad in layers on a large platter or on individual salad plates. First make a layer of the fennel slices. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over the fennel and drizzle with salt and pepper. Then make a layer of the artichoke hearts, also slice very thin. Squeeze more lemon juice over them, drizzle evenly with another third of the oils, and season with salt and pepper. Cut thin shavings of the Parmesan with cheese shaver or a vegetable peeler and arrange them on top of the artichoke slices. Scatter the parsley leaves over the cheese, season with salt and pepper, squeeze more lemon juice over, and drizzle evenly with the rest of the oils. Serve immediately.

Serves 6

Adapted from Alice Waters

Insalata di Spinaci, Pere ed Avocado - Spinach salad with Pear and Avocado
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 6-ounce package ready-to-use baby spinach, stems removed
1 ripe Anjou pear, peeled, cubed
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, cubed
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 ounces)

Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Mix spinach, pear, avocado and onion in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese. Serve, passing any remaining dressing separately.

4 Servings

Insalata di Patate - Italian Potato Salad
1 lb. new red potatoes
1/4 c. water
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
several sliced ripe black olives (optional)
1 small cucumber, chopped
1 tomato, chopped

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and one of white wine vinegar
a pinch of garlic powder
2 T. snipped fresh parsley

Scrub potatoes; cut crosswise into 1/4 in. slices. Place in 1 1/2 qt microwave safe casserole. Add water. Cover with lid. Microwave on high for 9-10 min. or until potatoes are tender; stirring once. Drain and cool. Add onions, olives, cucumber, tomato, dressing and parsley. Mix lightly to coat evenly. Refrigerate until chilled. Stir before serving.

Insalata di petto di pollo all'uva bianca e tartufo - Savory salad with breast of chicken white grapes and truffles
Breast of roasted or boiled chicken 200 gr.
1\2 radicchio
4 leaves curly lettuce
1 small bunch of rucola
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons
truffle pate'
16 white grapes

Cut the various salad vegetables in a julienne, place in the center of the plate. Cut the breast of chicken into sticks, place over the salad. Peel and split the grapes, removing seeds, distribute over the salad. Mix the balsamic vinegar first with salt to taste, then add the extravirgin olive oil, mix well with a fork or whisk to emulsify, fold in the truffle pate' and pour over the salad.


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