Category:  Salads

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Olives & Fennel

In Appetizers / Starters, Salads On December 18, 2012 0 Comments

For the holidays, make this Mediterranean olive and fennel salad in no time. Serve it with any type of bread (Italian, French, Lavosh or Pita).

Finally, sip some wine and have fun with your guests.

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
One 15-ounce can (about 2 cups) green and black olives or a combination of both
3 teaspoons chopped or thinly sliced fresh fennel
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh mint leaves
Salt and ground black pepper (optional)

1. In a medium glass or porcelain bowl, combine all ingredients.

2. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. You’re done!

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Tomato, Walnut & Basil Salad

Tomato, Walnut & Basil Salad

In Salads On August 28, 2012 0 Comments

Traditionally, I’ve enjoyed tomatoes sliced and tossed with onions, olive oil and basil.

But recently, I tweaked this tomato salad from Southern Italy by adding walnuts. When I served it to guests, it was a hit. And now, I’m sharing it with all of you – enjoy.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
4 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped, freshly shelled walnuts
4 large, fresh basil leaves, cut in slivers with cooking shears

1. Slice tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick circles.

2. Arrange the tomatoes in overlapping circles on a platter.

3. Scatter the red onion slices over top of tomatoes, followed by salt and pepper.

4. Drizzle the olive oil over tomato salad, followed by a sprinkle of walnuts and slivered basil.

Serve immediately with ciabatta bread (Italian slipper bread) or focaccia.

This salad can also be served as a side dish to meat, fish or poultry.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.

Caprese with Basil Almond Pesto

Caprese Salad with Basil Almond Pesto

In Appetizers / Starters, Fun Foods, Salads On July 12, 2012 0 Comments

The classic Caprese Salad consists of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and basil leaves. I’ve changed this recipe because I like tweaking and creating new recipes.

My version has some fresh pesto sandwiched between the tomato and mozzarella. There are no words or emotions to describe the luscious flavors of this Caprese with Basil Almond Pesto!

Prep time: 7 to 10 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 to 3 ripe tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 8 teaspoons Basil Almond Pesto (found in our Recipes, under “Salad Dressings, Salsas & Savory Sauces)
1 pound fresh mozzarella balls (these are called “bocconcini” or small bites)
4 to 6 large, fresh basil leaves

1. Slice the tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices and lay on a serving platter.

2. Drizzle the oil over tomato slices, followed by salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Spread 1 teaspoon Basil Almond Pesto on each tomato slice.

4. Drain all water from the mozzarella bocconcini and, on a cutting board, gently cut them in half.

5. Lay each one, flat side down, over the pesto and tomato (the rounded side of bocconcini should be face-up).

5. Drizzle some olive oil over each tomato-bocconcini component, followed by salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Cut the basil leaves in slivers and use them to decorate the plate or to decorate the salad.

Enjoy as a starter or salad course.

Text and Photograph © 2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.

Persian Cucumber Salad

Persian Cucumber Salad

In Salads On June 22, 2012 0 Comments

Besides pairing cucumbers with dips, or adding them in slices to lettuce salads, how can you use them as a main ingredient?

I found the answer to this question in the cuisine of Iran (2,000 years ago, Iran was called Persia). Inspired by the amazing foods of my Persian friends and the restaurants they’ve introduced me to, I’ve made Persian Cucumber Salad.

This delicious salad has a mélange of red onion, red bell pepper, fresh dill, olive oil, lime juice and, the star of the show – Persian cucumbers. Persian cukes are smaller than the  standard ones, but more flavorful. Enjoy this fresh and healthy salad all summer!

Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 to 1-1/4 pounds Persian cucumbers, about 5 to 6 count (available in Middle Eastern markets)
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, set in cold water for 1 minute and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill weed
Juice of 1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and ground, black pepper, to taste

1. Working on a cutting board, remove and discard tips of cucumbers.

2. Peel cucumbers and rinse them under cold, running water.

3. Using paper towels, pat dry the cucumbers and transfer them to cutting board.

4. Cut cucumbers in half, lengthwise.

5. Cut each cucumber piece in half again, lengthwise.

6. Chop cucumbers in 1/2-inch pieces and transfer them to a large glass or porcelain bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and toss.

7. Taste and adjust seasonings (olive oil, salt and pepper).

Serve Persian Cucumber Salad immediately with Lavosh or Pita breads* as an appetizer or as a side dish to meat, poultry or fish.

Note: *Lavosh is a flatbread typically served in Persian cuisine and is sold in large, rectangular sheets. Pita bread is served in Middle Eastern cuisine (various countries). It is flat, round and when cut in half Pita bread can be opened like a pocket and filled like a sandwich.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.

Desperation Salad

Desperation Salad

In Salads On August 13, 2011 0 Comments

ENTER OUR KITCHEN, WATCH & LEARN

 What do you do when you look in the fridge expecting to find that barbeque chicken YOU bought but only see two chicken legs and thighs? First, you have to get over the fact that your own family members cheated you out of the best part of that chicken. Once the trauma’s over, your creative wheels start spinning. And then, you make a meal of whatever items you desperately grab in the fruit/veggie drawer.

All of the above happened to me last month. I ended up creating one of the most artistic and delicious salads I’ve ever made in my life – here it is.

Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 barbequed chicken legs, skin and bone discarded and meat cut into cubes
2 barbequed chicken thighs, skin and bone discarded and meat cut into cubes
2 celery stalks, peeled and thinly sliced (diagonally)
1-1/2 cups diced Cantaloup melon
1 large, vine-ripened tomato, cubed
3 tablespoons slivered Italian flat-leaf parsley (do this with cooking shears or scissors)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lime or lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl.

2. Toss and taste.

3. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled Verdejo (white).

*Note: I prefer two types of chicken: organic chicken from Wholefoods® stores; and Mary’s Free Range Chicken® (vegetarian diet; no antibiotics or preservatives).

Text & Photographs © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real