Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

The inspiration: a long Shabbat afternoon spent with a friend

Shabbat afternoon is the time I use to catch up with my neighbors (who also happen to be good friends of mine).  I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn that is home to about 30 families, and we are all like one big extended family. So many a late Shabbat afternoon (about 2 hours before nightfall on Saturday afternoon) you will find my kids and I visiting a neighbor and sharing a light meal with them.  One of the foods we enjoy at that time besides challah is salad – something light to offset the heavy Shabbat lunch from several hours earlier. I will usually go to visit a friend with fresh produce or some sort of fish and between the two of us we make a couple of salads.

The innovation: pairing a fish with a stone fruit

Salads are fun – you can add so many different combinations. So one Shabbat afternoon I showed up to my friend’s house with donut peaches, leftover baked salmon, and roasted pistachios. It had been a last minute invite, and I was basically making it up as I went. This salad was originally made that Shabbat afternoon with iceberg lettuce, but the flavor of the peaches with the salmon and pistachios stuck with me. Donut peaches are not as sweet as regular peaches – they remind me of more of white peaches – and I find they work really well with salmon.

My interpretation:  Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

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Ingredients

8 oz fresh, boneless/skinless salmon fillet, baked or grilled

10 to 12 oz spring greens or mesclun mix (you want a mixture that has both sweet and  bitter greens)

3 donut peaches, pitted and sliced

large handful of roasted pistachios, crushed

a scant drizzle of best quality light olive oil

a two-finger pinch of sea salt (if desired)

1) Make sure the salmon is completely chilled if you are preparing it fresh. I have used leftover salmon as well – warm fish will wilt your greens.

2) Carefully flake the salmon, and mix the fish, peaches, and olive oil into the greens with your hands delicately.

3) Taste and add sea salt now if desired. If not, top with pistachios.

 

Recipe for a simple baked salmon

In an aluminum tray or pan,  place your salmon skin side down. Add a sprinkle of salt and squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the fish. Cover tightly, bake at 350 for about 15mins. Fish is done when glistening and completely cooked through.

 

Lazy Leftovers Make Super Summer Suppers: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.

Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up.  It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!

The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.

I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe.  Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.

This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.

My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

chickensaladwithprovencaltomatoes.fwp

This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.

Ingredients:

3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)

2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans

4 beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic

1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)

3 tblsp of Dijon mustard

2 tblsp of capers

2 tblsp of juice from the capers

2-3 oz of red wine vinegar

A three- finger pinch each of  sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil 

To Prepare:

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. 

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2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.

3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.

4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil.  Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use. 

 

 

 

 

Nicoise Salad with Potatoes – May Kosher Connection Challenge

Shavuot is about two weeks away, and I am already planning my menu. Especially for the last meal, on the second day of the holiday. In our Hasidic group the men and boys gather in the synagogues to observe the passing of a previous Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) on that day. They are away from early morning til very late in the afternoon, and even eat the festive holiday meal in the synagogue. These yahrzeit seudot (meals to commemorate the passing of a holy person) take place twice a year – once on Shavuot and once during Sukkot. We women take these times to eat with friends – groups of women co-ordinate and get together and eat in each other’s homes. Just as the men and boys bond together in the synagogues, the women and girls bond together over a delicious Yom Tov meal. It is also a chance to relax the menu a bit – it is our custom to eat meat at every Yom Tov meal except these. nicoise This is a more modern interpretation of a Nicoise salad – it features seared tuna, as well as green beans and baby red bliss potatoes. Instead of a vinagrette, it is merely dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is a recipe for one large, main course salad, and is easy to multiply for larger amounts.

Ingredients:

1 tuna steak,about 6 oz

4 baby red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 black olives (with pits)

1 Romaine heart (I use Andy Boy), torn into bite size pieces by hand

1 hard boiled egg

8-10 fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Juice from one fresh lemon

3 oz extra virgin olive oil

Table salt for salting water

Sea salt for seasoning

Olive oil spray for grilling

To Prepare: Fill a large pot at least halfway with water, and add table salt to the water, enough so there is the finest layer on the bottom of the pot Add your egg and when the water is at a full boil, add your green beans and potatoes set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove egg with slotted spoon and set into a bowl of cold water to cool.  Boil for a few minutes more, testing once midway. The beans are done when still crispy and green but not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove green beans and set aside. Boil for another 10 mins or so, then check potatoes by gently poking with a fork – if they are soft but not mushy, they are done. Drain and remove, setting aside with the green beans. Put a grill pan on the stove, and get it very hot. Spray the pan lightly with olive oil spray. Place the tuna steak into the pan for 2- 3 mins, depending on thickness. Flip once, cook another 2 mins on the other side, then remove from pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Roll the lemon on a cutting board or counter and cut in half, squeezing into a bowl and removing the seeds. Add the olive oil a tiny pinch of sea salt. Mix well. When all ingredients are cool but not cold, take everything except the tuna, egg, and olives and combine. Garnish with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.