Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This dish is a “Wow!” in so many ways.  First and foremost, it’s delicious!  But also easy, with a minimum of fuss.  I made a few adaptations from the original recipe in Bon Appetit.  This is also a great option for use of leftover cooked salmon instead of  cooking the salmon specifically for this dish.

You can see that we enjoyed it with a French rose wine, which was a perfect complement.  We served it with this favorite quinoa salad, Lemony Quinoa with Crunch, which also was a great companion.  The whole meal screamed spring, although I can’t wait to make it later in the summer when tomatoes are in season!

Recipe makes 4 main course servings

The Salmon

EV olive oil

2 small garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

1/2- 3/4 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild caught

Pre-heat the oven to 450° and place the oven rack in the top 3rd of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Coat the salmon with a thin layer of olive oil.  (If using farm raised salmon, you can skip this step.) Press the garlic through a garlic press and spread over the salmon, then season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon,  until salmon is medium rare (or to your desired doneness).  Cool slightly and then remove the skin and dark layer of flesh.  Set aside.

The Salad

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

Chickpeas from one large or two small  cans, drained, rinsed

2 cups chopped tomatoes (we used baby heirlooms from Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup Niçoise olives or other small black olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients except basil. Stir until tomatoes start to soften and the juice has thickened, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil. Place desired quantity of salad on individual serving plates. Tear salmon into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the salad.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We got together with our friends the Eklunds for cards last Saturday night.  Sue made this fabulous dish that’s a favorite of ours (thank you, Sue!!).  It’s beautiful to behold as well as delicious.  We brought a mixed greens salad and sauteed corn, which made for a lovely meal.  I’ve asked Sue to be guest chef for this post since neither Margaux nor I have made this recipe.

Sue says . . .

On a trip to North Carolina a few years ago, we had the choice to spend the afternoon at the airport waiting for our flight to Minneapolis – or spend our time at a distinctly unique food market and cafe.  We opted for the unique experience at Sara Foster’s Market in Durham, which is filled with awesome salads, casseroles, deli sandwiches, breads, desserts and more.  We struck up a conversation with the staff, and Sara invited us to join her as she tasted and selected wine from various vendors.  Needless to say, I bought several signed cookbooks, jams, oils, etc.!  This delicious warm chicken salad is from the The Foster’s Market Cookbook (2002) and is one of my favorites for a late summer dinner, using fresh garden tomatoes and basil.  It’s easy to make and you can see how beautiful it is in a large, low serving bowl.

The Chicken Salad

Canola or safflower oil for oiling the grill top

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 red onion, sliced in half-inch rounds

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (I used oil-packed)

1 cup drained, quartered artichoke hearts (I used marinated)

3 ripe garden tomatoes (regular or heirloom), cored, seeded and cut in large chunks

2 tablespoons drained capers

6 large fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 cup Provencal Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Salt and pepper

Basil leaves for garnish

Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill.  Brush the grill top lightly with the canola or safflower oil.  Toss the chicken and the onion with the olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl.  Let marinate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.  Grill the chicken and the onion directly over the fire.  For the chicken, about 7-8 minutes per side until done (firm to the touch/juices run clear).  For the onion about 4 minutes per side, until cooked but crisp tender. Set the chicken aside to cool for 20-30 minutes. Cut the onion rounds in half and place in a large, shallow bowl. (Pasta serving bowls are perfect for this dish.)

After the chicken has rested, slice the breasts on the diagonal into half-inch slices, about 8-10 per breast half.  Add the sliced chicken to the bowl with the onions along with the sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, capers, sliced basil, and some of the vinaigrette (about half or to your taste) and salt/pepper.  Toss gently to mix and garnish with additional basil leaves.  Pour the remaining vinaigrette into a small pitcher and pass at the table.

The Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 garden tomato, cored, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon drained capers

3 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

salt and pepper

Place the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the oils and whisk until incorporated and slightly emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.   This can be made up to 6 days in advance of use.  If you make ahead, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This simple potato salad was inspired by a recipe both Margaux and I made last year – and loved –  that had many more ingredients, including tuna.  My inspiration for this simpler version is that the green beans have been really good lately, along with the fact that I “over-bought” basil at yesterday’s farmer’s market. (I have a feeling you will be seeing a number of posts this week using basil :-))  It occurred to me that I could pare back the ingredients from the more complex salad to just potatoes, green beans and basil and use the dressing from that salad.  It turned out great!  We served it with a beautiful piece of salmon from Wild Run Salmon, who also sell at the farmer’s markets in the area, and a refreshing French rose wine.

The Dressing

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (depending on size and your taste)

juice from 1 large garlic clove (use a garlic press)

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, optional

Combine and whisk all ingredients till thorougly blended and a little emulsified.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

The Salad

2-3 pounds small potatoes (red, yellow or fingerling)

1 pound greens beans, ends trimmed and snapped in half

1/2-3/4 cup basil, coarsely chopped

Place the potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes can be pierced through with a fork.  Place on a towel and let cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, steam the green beans for 5-6 minutes until tender, but not overcooked.  Immediately plunge into ice water to cool and then pat dry with a towel.

When both potatoes and beans are cool, combine them in a large bowl with the basil.  Add the dressing and stir to thoroughly blend.  Taste and add salt and black pepper if needed.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve been wanting to make a kohlrabi salad ever since seeing a recipe on a blog last year.  I recently bought a beautiful kohlrabi – something I’ve never eaten nor cooked with –  at the farmers’ market and came home to find this recipe in the Wall St Journal Saturday “Off Duty” section.  It looked even better than the one that inspired me to buy the kohlrabi!  We really enjoyed the sweetness and juiciness the kohlrabi added to this slaw.  It’s a perfect accompaniment to something grilled, shown above with grilled salmon and our spring farmers market potato salad.  Note that for a salad like this, all quantities are subject to your taste!

Slaw Ingredients

1/2 medium green cabbage, cored and shredded (about 2 cups)

1 green or purple kohlrabi, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 red onion, cut in half moons (about 1/3 cup)

Quarter and core the cabbage, then cut in thin strips.  Peel the kohlrabi and shred on the big holes of a box grater.  Place both in a colander and add the salt.  Place the colander over a bowl, cover with a towel and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to expel excess moisture.

Herb Dressing Ingredients

1/4 cup EV olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped

1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk the olive oil, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl until slightly emulsified.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to blend.

Assembling the Slaw

Squeeze any excess moisture from the cabbage-kohlrabi mixture.  Place in a large salad bowl and toss with the red onion.  Add the herb dressing and toss to thoroughly blend all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, black pepper or lemon juice as necessary.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe is a riff on Aunt Cindy’s Artichoke, Edamame and Asparagus salad.  She had raved about that salad to me the week before I was having friends over for a cookout.  It occurred to me that this would be a great basis for a pasta salad, and I just went crazy from there making adaptations.  Like the A.E.A. salad this is based on, it was such a hit that it’s been made for more than one recent event.  Thanks to niece Sarah for suggesting the cherry tomatoes.  We served this with grilled chicken and Spring Farmer’s Mkt Potato Salad, which made for a great summer meal.

The Dressing

3 tablespoons EV Olive Oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

Juice of 1-2 cloves of garlic, using a garlic press

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in the bottom of a large salad bowl.  Set aside at room temperature.

The Salad

1 can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained (I like the ones with stems from Trader Joe’s)

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2-2/3 pound small dried pasta shapes

2 pints cherry tomatoes (I used the multi-colored ones from Trader Joe’s), cut in half

1/2-3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 425° and place the top rack one down from the top of the oven.   Pat the artichokes and asparagus dry.  Line a cookie sheet or broiler pan bottom with foil and cover lightly in EV olive oil.  Place the asparagus, artichokes and thinly sliced lemon on the foil and turn to coat all items with a little olive oil.  Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast for 7-10 minutes until done.  The asparagus does not need to be turned, but you will want to turn the artichokes and lemon slices a couple of times.  I found that the artichoke hearts and lemon could go longer, so I removed the asparagus after 7 minutes and placed the pan back in the oven for about 5 minutes more.

Cut the cooked asparagus into 2-inch lengths and the artichoke hearts into small pieces.  Cut the roasted lemon into small dice.  Add these ingredients to the dressing in the salad bowl.

In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and let cool.  NOTE:  I did not like the shells and used spirals the next time I made this – much preferred!  Add the cooled pasta to the bowl and toss to thoroughly blend and coat everything with the dressing.  Add the cherry tomatoes to the salad and stir to blend.  Lastly, add the mint and basil, stir to blend.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Let sit at room temperature to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This tasty and healthy salad was introduced to us by “Aunt Cindy and Uncle John” (my brother and his wife).  They had recently made this for Cindy’s niece’s bridal shower and loved it so much they made it for Mom/Granny’s 86th birthday party.  I discovered the original recipe on Health.com.  Two adaptations were made from the original – roasting the asparagus instead of adding it to the edamame cooking water and using marinated artichoke hearts vs. plain. We all agreed that this is a “keeper”!  It’s fast, easy to make, delicious and impressive.  When we saw that they were using a jar of pre-shaved Parmesan cheese purchased at Costco, we thought this recipe would fit right in with the Sandra Lee semi-homemade approach :-).  So if you use the pre-shaved cheese, it’s even faster to make!

These quantities make 4-6 servings and the recipe can easily be made in larger quantities by doubling or tripling.

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (14-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut diagonally into thirds
1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)

Instructions

1. Rub the inside of a large salad bowl with cut sides of the garlic clove; discard garlic.

2. Add oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper to the bowl and whisk until slightly emulsified. Add the artichokes, tossing gently and set aside at room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, place the edamame in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until asparagus and edamame are crisp-tender (about 3 minutes). Rinse under cold water, drain well, and blot dry with a towel or paper towels.  FOR ROASTED ASPARAGUS:  Cook the edamame for about 5 minutes, drain and pat dry.  Oven roast or grill the asparagus whole, lightly coated with a little olive oil.  Once done, cut into 2-inch pieces.  Proceed to step 4.

4. Add asparagus and edamame to the artichoke mixture and toss to blend.  Arrange shaved Parmesan over all and serve.

Aunt Suzy says . .

I’ve become a sucker for quinoa summer salads – you will find several of them here on Sweet & Savory Kitchens!  I’m always on the lookout for new and different quinoa recipes, so I immediately took note of this recently posted recipe from a fellow Minnesota food blogger on her Eating for England blog.  This is my riff on her recipe which embodies the flavors and ingredients of many Mexican dishes.  Enjoy as a main dish or a side for a summer grilling menu.  Beverages?  Iced tea, a lager beer or a dry rose wine all blend beautifully!

Quinoa-Black Bean Salad with Lime Dressing

1 cup quinoa (red or golden or a combo like I used)

1 1/2 cups water

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, small dice

1 clove garlic, minced

6 radishes, cut in half-moons

1 small jalapeno pepper, minced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3/4 cup cilantro or parsley

1-2 avocados, cut into chunks

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve and drain.  Place in a saucepan, add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.  Uncover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Fluff and put in a bowl.  Add the black beans to the quinoa while it’s still warm.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

When cooled, add the prepared onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno pepper and tomatoes and stir to blend thoroughly.  Add the Lime Dressing and stir to combine.  Gently fold in the cilantro or parsley.  If the entire recipe will be eaten on the day it’s made, add the avocado along with the cilantro. Otherwise, pass the avocado for people to add to their individual servings.

Lime Dressing

2 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1 lime

1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk until slightly emulsified.  A NOTE ON THE CUMIN:  Instead of ground cumin, next time I make this I will toast 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds and then coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle for enhanced cumin flavor.  I’ll report back.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I am always on the lookout for appealing and healthy things to eat for lunch given I work out of my home.  In the summer (finally here!!) I crave bean and grain-based salads with lots of flavor and color.  If you want proof, just click on Salads in our list of blog categories! The inspiration for making this recipe came from seeing it in the Linden Hills Co-op Deli.  After peeking at the ingredients, I realized I had all of them on hand.  This makes for a very nice lunch shown above with Cape Town Rooibos iced tea.  Today I had some cooked broccoli on hand and made the salad again with broccoli instead of spinach.  Equally delicious, if you happen to like broccoli.  Today’s lunch was the salad with broccoli, lemony quinoa salad with Tropical Green iced tea.

The Dressing

2-3 tablespoons EV olive oil

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Salt and black pepper to taste

The Salad

1 large or two small cans of chickpeas (about 3 cups cooked)

2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped OR

1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked broccoli, roughly chopped

1 roasted pepper, diced

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste

Drain and rinse the chickpeas if using canned. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except the feta cheese.  Add the dressing and gently stir to thoroughly blend.  Add the cheese and stir again to blend.  Or you can omit the cheese from the salad and add it once served.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

It finally feels like spring here!  I’m not trusting it’s here to stay, so I decided to take advantage of the spring feeling and make this quinoa recipe.  I’m not sure whether to call it a salad, a side dish or a main dish – it could be any of those!  It can be served warm or room temperature so there are many possibilities. And, it uses preserved lemon, so what’s not to like?  (It would be good without the PL if you don’t have any on hand.)  I think you’ll find it’s a snap to make with many layers of flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed (any color will do, even though I favor the red)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 preserved lemon peel, diced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, mint or cilantro or a combo

NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS:  I like Trader Joe’s dry roasted Spicy and Tangy Almonds.  If you use these, cut back the cayenne pepper to 1/8 teaspoon since the almonds pack a little heat.  If you don’t have preserved lemon, I think grated zest of 1 lemon would be delicious.

Directions

1.   If using pine nuts, toast briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and stir constantly as they will burn easily. Set aside to cool.

2.   In a saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then fluff with a fork.

3.   Transfer the quinoa to a serving bowl and stir in the chopped nuts, lemon juice, celery, onion, preserved lemon, cayenne pepper, cumin and herbs. Add the olive oil, then adjust salt/pepper if needed before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Greek Panzanella Salad

March 5, 2011

Margaux says…

I’ve made this salad a few times in the past month or so, in order to combat these winter blues (salads always give me hope of spring!).  I saw it on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, and decided to make it for my mom when we went home one weekend, because it sounded like something she would love.  It was very simple to make, and it was a hit!  I’ve made it a couple more times since then, once as the main course for just my husband, son and me, and once as a side dish for company.

Greek Panzanella
from a Barefoot Contessa episode, by Ina Garten

Ingredients

* Good olive oil
* 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
* Kosher salt
* 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
* 1 red bell pepper, large diced
* 1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
* 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
* 1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
* 1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:

* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup good olive oil

Directions

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.

Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.