Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Salads

I was a vegetarian for 14 years, so salads were a staple of my diet, and still are today. I was always coming up with new concoctions, like a mad scientist, and the kitchen was my lab.

Here is a super easy recipe I came up with a few years ago and at for almost a month straight! If you must have a protein, grilled chicken would be alright, but honestly, the recipe is better without it.

1 bunch of Arugula
If you are fortunate to have a little plot of tilled dirt outside of your back door, grow this. It doesn't require extra care and the rewards a many. The taste is peppery, verdant, and a compliment to all salads.

Tear off the very bottom of stems if they appear discolored.

1 small head of Radicchio
Radicchio has crunch that is able to hold up in most salads.

Use about half a head, cut in quarters, and give it a rough chiffonade.

3 medium sized Carrots
I always buy organic carrots in a bunch with leaves on. It gives you a pretty good idea of how long they've been out of the ground. If you're in a pinch, 1 pre-shredded bag of carrots will work fine (use about 1/2 of the bag).

Shred the carrots with a box grater. If your carrots are on the small side, shred 4.

1 cup of mixed Olives (with their oil)
I get mine from the olive bar at the grocery store and mix the different
varieties. If you want a little kick, get a few of the marinated Greek olives with red pepper flakes. Spoon in some of their oils too. Pit in or out, depending on how much of a purist you are.

8 ounces of good Bleu Cheese or Gorgonzola
I buy chunks and crumble myself. I don't know if this really has anything to do with the end product, but it makes me feel a little less Sandra Lee.
I like Maytag and farmhouse buttermilk bleus.

4 medium sized Sun dried Tomatoes (packed in oil)
Just give a rough chop and reserve some of the oil.

In a serving bowl, add your bleu cheese, olives (with 1tbs oil) and sun dried tomatoes (with 1/2 tbs oil). Give it a toss. Add the carrots and radicchio and toss again. Pile on top of the arugula just before serving.

You can make this recipe a day or two before hand, omitting the arugula. Add some mild herbs like parsley or chervil with a squeeze from a lemon quarter.
Serves about 4 as a side. Double amounts for a dinner get together. Perfect with a vodka martini!

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