To recap, despite my disdain for Mark Bittman, I was intrigued by his recent NYT article, 101 Simple Salads for the Season. So I decided to spend a week trying out a new salad each day, starting with number 2, tomatoes and peaches with cilantro. My recent quality time with Bittman has been more fruitful than I expected. The nice thing about these salad recipes is how flexible they are and once you acquire a bunch of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and accessories, you can start making up your own dishes and playing with what he's suggested. Of all the ones I've tried so far, I think the first one remains my favorite.
Number 14. Thinly slice carrots, or grate or shred them (the food processor makes quick work of this). Toss with toasted cumin seeds, olive oil, lemon juice and cilantro. Raisins are good in here too. There is no better use of raw carrots.
Lemon juice and cumin are a delicious combination. I could just drink this dressing straight. I bet that marinating the carrots in the dressing for 15 minutes or so would be nice.
48. Toss roughly chopped dandelion greens (or arugula or watercress) with chopped preserved lemon, chickpeas, crumbled feta and olive oil. (Before you start cursing me out, here’s a quick way to make preserved lemons: chop whole lemons and put in a bowl with the juice of another lemon or two, sprinkle with a fair amount of salt and let sit for an hour or so.)
The preserved lemon trick didn't work out as well as Bittman promised, though maybe I could have chopped the lemons up smaller.
39. Yucatecan street food as salad: Roast fresh corn kernels in a pan with a little oil; toss with cayenne or minced chilis, lime juice and a little queso fresco. Cherry tomatoes are optional.
This doesn't look particularly great, but it was tasty. The tart lime was nicely paired with the sweet corn. Though it wasn't as substantial as some of the other salads and would have been better as a side dish rather than a meal.
18. Roughly chop cooked or canned chickpeas (you can pulse them, carefully, in a food processor) and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, lots of chopped fresh parsley and mint, and a few chopped tomatoes. Call this chickpea tabbouleh.
This ended up being a nice variation on no. 48 above. I used the remaining preserved lemons and added feta. No tomatoes on hand though.
30. Fast, grown-up potato salad: Boil bite-size red potatoes. While still warm, dress them with olive oil, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, capers and parsley. Chopped shallots, bell peppers, etc., all welcome, too.
I mixed together a dollop of Dijon with another dollop of mayo. Spicy, creamy and tangy. The warm potatoes are key.
So this isn't a salad exactly, but rather a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with cheesy rice and topped with a black bean salad and additional queso fresco. Full recipe forthcoming but it was definitely inspired by my fridge full of cilantro, mint and cheese.