Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This summer's top salad

I haven't gone to a lot of barbecues this summer. Austin the former landlord did find some lovely steaks a few weeks ago and marinated a few of them in a store-bought raspberry vinaigrette  which turned out delicious. My contribution to the party was a salad that was both easy and a little unusual. No pictures this week, it got eaten a little too quickly, so I would definitely call it a success.

Epicurious is a fantastic source for salads; I have several saved to be used at upcoming galleries. Fortunately, my friends don't mind being used as guinea pigs.

This week's recipe has only a few ingredients, but they all add a new level of flavor when blended together:

Romaine and Arugula Salad with Toasted Seeds

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups baby arugula leaves
A couple of quibbles with the ingredients. I would have found it easier to have said, "Juice from half of a small lemon." Unless you have the hand-eye coordination of a superhero, it's a little hard to squeeze lemon juice into a tablespoon. 

And packing the lemon peel? Don't. Grate the zest off an entire small lemon--about the size of a couple of golf balls. If you can fit it whole into your coffee cup, that's about the right size. When you tightly pack lemon peel, it stays packed and can be a bit of a pain in the ass.

Back to our recipe:

Combine all seeds in heavy small skillet. Add large pinch of salt. Cook over low heat until white sesame seeds are pale golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Using potato masher, press mixture in skillet until coriander seeds are coarsely crushed.

  • There's an assumption here. Specifically, that one has a particular type of potato masher: 

  • So, next time I do this, I'm toasting the coriander seeds first, then crushing them in my mortar and pestle. You don't want the sesame seeds smushed with this salad.

Back to the recipe:

Place lemon juice and peel in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Seeds and dressing can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Combine romaine and arugula in large bowl. Add dressing and half of seeds; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining seeds and serve.

This came out beautifully. The seeds add a nice, but different kind of crunch,and just loved the coriander. I never would have thought about putting it together with sesame seeds. If you're not used to shopping for sesame seeds, you can often find a large container of them in the Asian food section of your grocer. If they aren't there, yell at them. You may also find them on the spice rack.
Black sesame seeds are a little tougher to find. I got mine at an Asian grocer when we lived in Danbury. Our friends at Amazon have a variety of brands and prices if you don't have an Asian grocer handy.

I'll be making the salad again, and maybe one or two more new ones by the time the summer is over.

Next week: How not to make ponzu!

Questions? Comments? Death Threats? All are welcome!

No comments:

Post a Comment