A Different Potato Salad

A few weeks ago, I was craving a potato salad but didn't want anything with mayo, or sour cream, or yogurt. I had been playing around with vinegars so hit upon a slightly decadent but pretty straightforward rendition that you could call a "salad". However, I originally served it as a side but recently made it for our annual Santa Cruz Shakespeare picnic outing.

(Oh and hi everyone, it has been ages since Meriko added me to Gastronome and I finally made some time to post...this is my first.)

Potato Salad with vinaigrette

6-7 smallish white potatoes
duck fat (olive oil is ok substitute)
italian parsley
1/8 lb lardon/bacon (optional)

1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp red wine vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup peanut oil (olive oil can be used but peanut oil is a bit lighter)

extra red wine vinegar

1. Wash/scrub potatoes. Don't peel them.
2. Slice potatoes into 3/8'-1/2" rounds
3. Heat duck fat in large round saute pan over medium heat. Add enough to coat entire surface of pan. In fact, you'll probably want to err on the side of "more".
4. Cook the potatoes until they are light-to-medium brown on each side. The potatoes will tend to stick so push them around to keep the fat underneath them (this is why you want to err on the side of more fat than less). I tend to try and keep the potatoes a tiny bit on the under-done side so they don't mush up...
5. As the potatoes are done, dab them briefly on paper towels then transfer them to a wire rack so that they can cool.

Once the potaoes are done, you can make the dressing.
1. Put the mustard and two vinegars into a bowl and whisk them. Add a pinch of salt and a little pepper to season. Whisk again until well blended.
2. Pour all of the peanut oil into the bowl with the vinegar and whisk like mad until it emusifies. Add a bit more oil if you need to to get it to emulsify.

1. Finely chop a medium handful of parsley leaves.
2. Cut chives so that you have about 2 Tbsp (or more) of small rounds.
3. Chop the lardon/bacon and fry crisp. Chop the bacon some more after cooking - you want small bits.

1. Place the cooled potatoes into a shallow pan and pour some of the dressing over them.
2. Using your hands, move the potato disks around taking care not to break them, coating them with the dressing.
3. Pour the rest of the dressing over the potatoes and continue to coat them. (You may have to make more dressing depending on the number of potaoes you use but they should not be swimming in dressing....)
4. Toss the parsley, chives, lardon onto the potaotes and mix to distribute.

At this point, taste the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste. Then drizzle a bit more red wine vinegar over them and toss then taste. They should have a plesant tang from the additional wine vinegar. Serve at room temperature.

Posted by william at 11:07 PM

"Dog Days" Grilled Tuna Salad

Dinner: August 11, 2005
Originally uploaded by Jenblossom.

It's the dog days of summer, and New York has had a miserable stretch of hot, sticky weather. I've been relying on our outdoor grill and quick, cool salads to get us through the heatwave, and this combo of grilled tuna, black-eyed peas, fresh green beans, baby tomatoes and basil was a hit - a simple combination highlighting some of the season's best ingredients.

Preheat your grill, and season two 4 oz. tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with olive oil, and grill to your desired level of doneness. Set tuna aside to rest.

In a large bowl, combine one can of black-eyed peas (drained and rinsed) with 1/4 lb. of green beans (ours were from the garden, and had been previously blanched and frozen, so I thawed them in some warm water to bring them up to room temp) and a pint of halved baby tomatoes (we used a mixture of heirloom grape and cherry tomatoes). Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of shredded fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss well. Divide between two plates, slice or chunk tuna and place on top. Garnish with more shredded basil, add a crusty wholegrain roll and a glass of wine, and enjoy!

Posted by jenblossom at 07:50 AM

Tuna Chopped Salad

chopped salad with Italian tuna and lemon-oregano viniagrette

Sometimes, inspiration strikes in odd places. A couple of weeks ago, as I sat in the waiting room at my doctors office and flipped through an old issue of Bon Apetit, a recipe for a tuna chopped salad caught my eye. We were expecting a heavy snowfall that day, and though the weather outside was blustery and cold, that recipe stuck in my head, making me think thoughts of spring.

Last night, as New York was hit with yet another wintry blast of snow and ice, I did my best to reconstruct that tuna chopped salad recipe, my way of telling Old Man Winter that he won’t break me. Spring’s just around the corner…

Chopped Salad with Italian Tuna

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. dried oregano
salt and cracked black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 carton grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp. nonpareil capers
1 jar Italian tuna in oil
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, carrot and zucchini. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, and toss well. Remove tuna from jar, leaving most of the oil behind, and add to veggie mixture. Toss to combine, breaking up the tuna into chunks (be sure not to flake it!). Add parsley and vinaigrette, and toss again until the mixture is coated.

I served this atop a bed of baby arugula, with wedges of toasted whole wheat pita on the side.

Posted by jenblossom at 07:17 AM

Edamame with mustard sauce

I made this salad to go along with some Quorn cutlets that we were trying out for the first time. I was a little nervous that the Quorn cutlets would be nasty, but we were pleasantly surprised. Luckily, the salad was also quite good. I highly recommend - especially if you are a fan of dijon mustard.

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1 pound shelled raw edamame
1 cup thinly sliced red onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

2 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

Boil raw edamame beans for no longer than 4 minutes. Add red onions and celery into the boiling water for 1 additional minute. Drain well. Chill one full hour.

Whisk all four sauce ingredients together and chill.

After beans, onions and celery are fully chilled, toss lightly with mustard sauce and serve cold.

Posted by merry at 08:03 AM

lemon-ginger scallop salad for one

Yesterday at the store I got some lovely big fresh scallops, but hadn't really figured out what I was going to do with them until tonight. As evidenced by previous postings, I like seafood and salad, so I figured I'd stick to the basics and just wing it. The result? Beautifully seared lemon-ginger scallops over salad.

Seared Lemon-Ginger Scallops Over Salad
1/2 pound fresh scallops
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 2-inch piece frozen ginger root (defrosted)*
1 lemon
1 tablespoon soy mayonaise (or aoli)
salad greens
fresh ground pepper

* OK this is my weird contribution to cooking science today. Freeze a piece of ginger root, then leave on a counter to defrost (about an hour or two). You will now be able to pinch the ginger and out squirts juice! For real! The inside of the defrosted ginger is like sponge, holding the juice. It's amazing.

Heat peanut oil on high in a non-stick pan. When oil is hot, sear scallops (under 3 minutes on one side until golden brown, a minute or two on the other), squeezing lemon and ginger to taste over them while they cook.

Put salad greens in bowl. Squeeze ginger and lemon into a mayonaise and stir in fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss into greens. Remove scallops from heat and place on top of greens. Done!

Serves 1

Posted by rebecca at 06:21 PM

Spinach Salad with Apples, Bacon, and Honey Mustard Dressing

In honor of our first installment from the Bacon of the Month Club.

A salad perfectly paired with some real bacon. Beware: this is a Bacos-free zone.

For the dressing:

3 Tbl honey
2 Tbl prepared mustard (I used Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale & Honey Spice Mustard)
2 Tbl red vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
up to 1/4 cup oil

Whisk together first four ingredients - adjust the honey/mustard balance to taste. While whisking quickly, drizzle in the oil to the desired consistency. I like it kinda thick, with maybe just half of the oil.

For the salad:

10oz. baby spinach, rinsed & dried
1 Golden Delicious Apple, finely diced
4 oz. bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
(optional) 1 avocado, sliced thinly

Toss spinach with dressing, then toss in apple & bacon & avocado.

Serves 6

Vegetarian variation: this works perfectly well without the bacon, too. You could leave it out, or replace it with something else salty like roasted walnuts.

Posted by patrick at 02:36 PM

signature salad

This is definitely a riff on the California "mesclun, nuts, fruit, and vinaigrette" salad that is ubiquitous around these parts, but it's still one of my very favorite salads to serve to a crowd - it's chock full of tasty bites. Elsewhere on gastronome, I point out how to make it on a picnic, and it's on the menu at Thanksgiving 2003. .

For the salad:
A big bag of weeds & fronds
roasted pistachio nuts
A good blue cheese, crumbled (My favorite is Pt. Reyes Blue)
Some kind of fruit - my two favorites are fresh figs or dried cherries
optional: a crisp apple, diced
optional: a big bunch of basil, sliced into thin strips (chiffonade)

For the dressing:
1 finely diced shallot
1 tbsp mustard for every 1/3 cup of oil
1 part good olive oil
1 part Lulu's fig balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

1. Whisk the dressing together. Adjust.
2. Combine greens, pistachios, fruit, and cheese.
3. Add dressing, toss & serve!

I've played around with the dressing - substituing different flavored vinegars, or exchanging the shallot for roasted garlic. Try out your favorite flavors!

Posted by shock at 08:30 AM

Picnic Potato Salad

Burning with guilt over my lack of participation, I offer up this recipe from my food guru, Deborah Madison. I made this yesterday for a li'l Easter bbq. Quite yum: Picnic Potato Salad with Marjoram and Pickled Onions. Note: I used ground thyme and left out the bell pepper and capers because, yes, I'm a freak.

1 lg. dark red onion, finely diced
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
3 lbs boiling or waxy potatoes
2 T dijon mustard
3 lg garlic cloves, pounded or put through a press
3 T capers, rinsed
1 bell pepper, any color, finely diced
4 celery ribs or 1 fennel bulb, finely diced
3 T chopped marjoram
1 T chopped thyme or lemon thyme

Put the diced onion in a strainer. Bring a kettle of water to a boil and pour it slowly over the onion. Shake the onion dry and put it in a large salad bowl. Add the vinegar, 1 t. salt, several grinds of pepper, the oil and set aside.

Cook the potatoes, then peel and slice them. While still warm, add them to the onion along with the mustard, garlic, and capers. Toss gently with a soft rubber spatula. Spank yourself with the soft rubber spatula. Caress your--oops. Sorry. Got distracted. Add the bell pepper, celery, and herbs and toss once more. Taste for salt and grind in plenty of pepper.

[I'm assuming you are all smarter than I am and don't need the potato-cooking directions.]

Posted by leek at 07:18 PM

lemony shrimp salad

Lately I haven't been able to 'reach' to cook myself dinners after work for all the usual reasons: I'm too tired, I'm missing key ingredients, it will take too long, etc.. Basically, bullshit lazy reasons! Short on bedtime fiction, I took a couple cookbooks to bed last night in search of some healthy, super quick, simple dinners I could whip up and get myself out of my cooking rut. I found this gem in Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer. Nigella is all about easy dishes and I hit the jackpot with this one: the dressing has already been committed to memory and has been added to my personal permanent cooking repertoire. Here goes...

Lemony Shrimp Salad
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head of romaine lettuce
12 oz. meduim raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
small bunch of chives, choppped

Peel the lemon by cutting the tops and bottoms off, sit it upright on one end, then cut away the zest and pith from top to bottom with a sharp knife. Chop it roughly and toss into a food processor with one clove of garlic and the scallions and blitz. Pour peanut oil and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil down the processor funnel with the processor on. Dressing done! (How cool is that? In under 3 minutes, I might add! )

Tear up the lettuce (in the spirit of being 'easy' I used some baby spinach I had on hand), then toss with the dressing and divide between two plates.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and gently heat the second garlic clove until golden to infuse the oil. Remove the garlic clove and toss the shrimp into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. Spoon over the dressed salad greens and voila! 10 minutes start to finish, I promise! I tupperwared the second serving for a snack tomorrow. Serves 2.

Posted by rebecca at 08:10 PM

shrimp salad

I threw this salad together last night. I have been
working on eating more veggies and protein and trying to cut calories over all.
It is really simple and not hard to make, especially if you have already cleaned shrimp.

red bell pepper
mixed baby greens
baby roma tomatoes

1-2 lbs small shrimp cleaned
4-5 cloves garlic
crushed red peppers
fresh basil
lime juice
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

chop all of the salad ingredients and make a nice salad. sautee the garlic, ginger ( I put the garlic and ginger into the garlic press and pressed straight into the skillet.) , basil and red peppers in olive oil, when it is good and hot add the basil and then the shrimp. squeeze a whole lime over the top.

I then dressed the salad with a light Flax seed oil and balasmic vinegar, and topped it with the shrimp, some of the sauce from the shrimp, lime juice and fresh ground black pepper.

Posted by karine at 08:06 PM


I had a pseudo-chopped salad at Indigo a few weeks ago, and thought it was super tasty. I filed away the basic ingredients in my head (romaine, red cabbage, fava beans, pancetta chunks, green apples, avocado, and a very parsley-fied mustard dressing with blue cheese crumbled atop) for a future reproduction. When Forrest dropped by last Sunday, i took a shot at it - it was different, but i think really yummy. The red cabbage adds a nice flavor, crunch, and visual contrast. I served this with risotto with morels, fava beans, and capricious cheese. (Hence, no favas in my salad.)

for the salad:
--A mix of crunchy/firm lettuce (i used red leaf and a romaine heart. All romaine would be fine, but don't use a mesclun mix for this salad)
--red cabbage
--a green apple
--blue cheese (i used point reyes blue)
--fava beans (optional)

for the dressing:
--a flavorful but not-too-spicy mustard (you're going to use a lot.)
--a ton of parsley (i prefer flat-leaf/italian)
--a bit of vinegar (white wine, sherry, & red wine are all ok, but don't use balsamic)
--some olive oil
--salt & pepper
--A little juice (i used apple-cherry cider)

Use a 4:1 ratio of lettuce to cabbage. Maybe even a little less cabbage. Wash and dry your lettuces. Chop the lettuce into fairly small pieces, and slice the cabbage finely. Tuck your salad bowl in the fridge for a while.

Make your dressing: purée the parsley (you want at least 4 big handfuls - the dressing should be REALLY green) with 3-4 tablespoons of mustard, a tablespoon of vinegar (i used a really nice spanish sherry vinegar), and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Thin to taste with olive oil and a tablespoon or two of juice, until the dressing is thinner than a mayo, but a little thicker than a caesar dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. It should be a very green tasting, round, mellow dressing.

Cut your pancetta into small cubes (1/3" or so?), and brown and drain them. Crumble some blue cheese into a bowl.

Dice the apples and the avocado to a similarly-sized dice.

Toss the salad at the last minute, reserving the blue cheese and a third of the avocado. Plate with a little extra avocado and a mound of blue cheese on top.

Posted by shock at 09:17 AM

salad nicoise

Heather's looking for ways to play with fish (as food, damnit!), and asked if i had a favorite salad nicoise recipe. And guess what! I do. 8) As with many of my faves, this is an Alice Waters recipe, adapted from Chez Panisse Menus. This is good enough to be a main course; it's especially nice in the hot summer months. To dress it up a bit for the Bornschlegel Family Vacation last summer i prefaced it with Mimi's tomato bisque and tiny grilled cheese sandwiches.

serves 6

1.5 lb fresh tuna steak
[she says to rub with veggies and oil and bake. i prefer to pan sear or grill my fish. I've been known to sub in good quality Italian canned tuna in a pinch]

the garlic vinaigrette:
2-3 cloves very fresh garlic
1 c virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 c flavorful red wine vinegar
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Crush garlic with a tsp of olive oil. mix paste with 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, and the rest of the olive oil. add 2 tbsp capers and season it with salt and pepper and more vinegar if necessary.

the veggies and accompaniments
(choose only the best of the following)
1/4 lb haricots verts
1/2 lb tiny new potatoes
1/3 lb shelled fava beans
3-4 artichokes and 1 lemon
1 red pepper
6-8 anchovy fillets
4 hard cooked eggs
1/2 red onion
12-15 chervil sprigs
3-4 ripe summer tomatoes
1/4-1/3 c nicoise olives

Top & tail beans. Blanch fava beans, blanch green bean 2-3 minutes, rinse under cold water. Boil potatoes until they are just done. Remove, drain, and let cool to room temp. Wash and seed red pepper and cut into thin slices. Toss the pepper in a little vinaigrette, toss the green beans in some vinaigrette. Quarter the potatoes and toss them in some vinaigrette, too.

To compose:
Rinse the anchovies well and cut filets in half, lengthwise. The 4 eggs should be boiled just long enough so that the yolk is still a little soft and bright orange. Slice 1/2 red onion in paper thin slices. Toss 12-15 chervil sprigs with the artichoke hearts. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and toss them with a little viniagrette.

Arrange them in groups. Toss the tuna with some vinaigrette and put it in the center of the salad. Arrange the rest on the salad, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Posted by shock at 10:28 PM

Portobello Mushroom Salad

This is my favorite salad, ever. We had this deliciousness on the back patio at Brava Terrace one night, and everyone at the table was moved by it. The mushrooms are just fantastic. Broiling them with peanut oil really seals in the juices and makes for a meaty-fun mess.

I use a lot less oil in the dressing than they suggest, and if I can't get/don't have the fresh herbs, it still tastes just great over plain spinach.

Portobello Mushroom Salad
Brava Terrace, St. Helena, CA
Gourmet Archives

4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
4 Portobello mushroom caps (about 1/2 pound)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups firmly packed spinach, washed thoroughly,
spun dry, and cut into thin strips
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil, thin strips

Prepare grill or preheat broiler.
In skillet cook garlic in butter over moderate heat, turning, until
garlic is golden brown.
In blender blend garlic mixture, walnut oil, vinegars and salt and pepper
to taste.
Scrape gills off mushroom caps and brush both sides with peanut oil.
On a grill or in shallow pan under broiler grill or broil the mushrooms
about 4 inches from heat 3 minutes on each side, or until tender.
In a bowl toss together spinach, shallot, and garlic mixture.
Divide spinach mixture among plates and top with mushroom caps.
Sprinkle caps with fresh herbs. Serves 4.

Posted by heather at 06:48 PM

Fruit to Nuts Salad

Okay so here's a favorite salad of mine:

  • 1.5-2 large heads of red leaf lettuce
  • one large or two smaller Granny Smith apples
  • half pound of walnut halves
  • two tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 tbsp crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • balsamic vinegar and rose water to taste

  1. Wash and cut the lettuce into 1" wide strips, or tear to your preferred format, place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Chop the apple into bite-size chunks and add to salad bowl.
  3. Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add walnuts.
  4. Simmer walnuts for about 30 seconds, then sprinkle on brown sugar and then 1/4 cupe rose water. Stir frequently.
  5. Stir walnuts until they get a nice coating of sugar-- maybe 2 minutes. Do not allow them to burn.
  6. Remove walnuts from heat and allow to cool in a bowl for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add 1/2 walnuts to salad bowl and toss salad.
  8. Sprinkle remaining walnuts and gorgonzola on top of salad.
  9. Sprinkle balsamic vinegar and rose water on salad to taste. (Approx. 4 tbsp vinegar and 4 tbsp rose water)

This recipe serves six.
Posted by todd at 11:40 AM

grilled scallop & maui onion salad

By popular demand, one of my favorite main-dish salads! This salad is featured in a really great book that's chock full of great main dish salads, called (appropriately enough) Main Dish Salads, by Norman Kolpas. I don't believe this book's offerings blaze any wild entree-salad trails, but sometimes when you want something green and are feeling uninspired it's glossy pictures can do wonders. It's a Canadian book and might not be available stateside, but if anyone wants to take a look at it, let me know! Ok, here we go...

Grilled Scallop and Maui Onion Ring Salad
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sea scallops
1 large Maui onion
salt & white pepper to taste
12 cups mixed baby salad leaves
6 oz yellow teardrop or cherry tomatos
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tbsp finely shredded fresh basil leaves

Make the dressing: in a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper until the salt dissolves. Stirring continuously, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream. Set aside.

Start the salad: in a small bowl stir together the lemon juice and half the olive oil, then add the scallops to marinate. Slice the Maui onion crosswise into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Brush remaining olive oil on both sides of each sliced section. Sprinkle scallops and onion slices with salt and pepper, then grill or broil them until they are light golden brown - about 2 or 3 minutes per side.

Toss the salad greens and tomatos with enough dressing to coat everything well in a large bowl. Plate the greens in generous portions, separate the grilled onion slices into rings and strew them over the greens. Cut the scallops horizontally into two thinner disks and arrange golden-side-up on the salad. Top with pine nuts and basil shreds and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Substitutions: Any sweet onion can be used - walla walla, vidalia, or red onions. Shrimp can be used instead of scallops. To make the dish vegetarian, I have also used well-seasoned tempeh grilled in the same manner as the scallops. Good luck!

Posted by rebecca at 10:35 PM

impromptu beef salad

Do you know how rare it is to catch a recipe on tv where 1) you remember all the ingredients 8 hours later (without writing them down), 2) it looks like something you'd really enjoy, and 3) you actually have all the ingredients fresh in your 'fridge?

I whipped up an excellent salad tonight, based on a recipe I caught the tail end of on a cooking show this morning. Of course I didn't bother to look online for the recipe until after dinner, but miraculously it all came together really well in litterally under 6 minutes, and ended up being one of the best spontaneous meals I have made in a long time.

My Impromptu Beef Salad
1/4 pound fillet mignion
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white parts only
1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 handfull of cilantro, torn up
Big bowl of arugula/salad greens

Sear the steak in a hot pan until medium rare (about 3 minutes on the first side, season with salt and pepper, then flip for 1 minute on the second side). Remove from heat, let it cool a little and slice.

Whisk the juice of a lemon, cumin, and olive oil with a little salt and pepper to taste. Toss greens, cucumber, and cilantro with the lemon-cumin dressing. Add steak.

Posted by rebecca at 07:25 PM