Day: July 22, 2011
We are waist deep into summer, and for me that means that I need to avoid using my stove / oven at all costs. Especially this week; it was over 100 degrees F yesterday. So that means no real baking for the next couple of days / weeks / months. Oh, how I miss the 2 feet of snow I had in the backyard nigh just a few months ago. So since cooking and baking slow down, all this heat also means a lot of outdoor grilling and a lot of salads. And with the farmer’s markets in full swing, why not take advantage of nature’s bounty?
I may have said this before, but I am not a fan of iceberg lettuce. It’s only real purpose, in my opinion, is to keep my hamburger bun from getting soggy with burger-y juicy goodness. So this salad will not have any of that stuff. I use Red and Butter Lettuces here with some sliced onion and radish. The little twist is that I added some marinated glass noodle. It adds a nice bit of texture and interest, especially after chilling in the fridge of a couple of minutes or so. I do also rather like the dressing. It’s simple and I think you have a nice balance of flavors — you get some sweetness from the honey, some saltiness from the soy sauce, there’s the acid from the vinegar, and the raw garlic adds some heat and bitterness. And all that flavor is wrapped up in a lovely olive oil. Here’s what you need:
For the noodle:
- 1 – 2 “bundles” of glass / cellophane noodles (Chinese vermicelli)
- 2 c. water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 c. soy sauce
- 1 – 2 t. sesame oil
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the bay leaf. Once boiling, add the vinegar and soy sauce.
2. Remove from the heat and add the glass noodle. Let steep for 5 – 7 minutes.
3. Strain and toss with some sesame oil. Set aside.
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 2 T. seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 T. soy
- 1-2 T. honey
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
1. Whisk together olive oil, vinegars, and soy sauce until well blended.
2. Add honey and combine. The honey will help hold the emulsion and add some sweetness.
3. Add the black pepper and chopped garlic. Stir to coat and set aside.
Assemble the salad:
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1 head of red lettuce
- 3 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/4 large white onion, thinly sliced
1. Separate the leaves of lettuce. Place them in a water bath to wash them. Shred the leaves into bite-sized pieces and spin them dry.
2. Place a bed of the lettuces on a plate. In the center of the lettuce, place 1/2 the noodle, twisted with a fork to make a “nest”.
3. Drizzle the salad with the dressing. Whisk the vinaigrette to re-emulsify if it separated whilst assembling the salad. Repeat the steps to make a second salad or save everything to make a salad tomorrow!
Notes — I did top off the noodles with some left over lo mein. I figured it would add a little bit of extra flavor, plus help clean out the fridge. . . Also, I tend to like my dressings on the tart side, so I probably use more vinegar than most. Usually the ratio of oil to vinegar is around 3:1 depending on the strength of the vinegar. Try some different things out and see what you prefer. And use high quality stuff. You can’t mask sub-par ingredients here because you will definitely taste it. . . You will have plenty of extra greens here. After shredding them, just place them in a zip top bag with a slightly damp paper towel and they will stay fresh for a while, maybe a week or so. I can’t really recommend someone go to the market and just peel off a few leaves of lettuce here and there!