With warmer weather here our thoughts naturally turn toward lighter dishes, especially salads. Not only can a salad be a concoction of greens and vegetables, there are a handful of classics that involve one protein or another.
Chef Jerry Pellegrino will tell you, these rudimentary preparations all start with the mayonnaise, and therein lies opportunity.
Here is the Schola Cooking School recipe for homemade mayonnaise and several ideas for tempting summer salad. And remember, they all taste best when you use fresh quality locally grown ingredients.
Radio Kitchen Summer Salads
Chefs Amy von Lange & Jerry Pellegrino
6 egg yolks
1 lemon juice, zest and juice
the zest of one lemon
½ teaspoon of Worchester Sauce
salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
16 oz. blended oil
Place all of the ingredients except the oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping bade. Process until combined well. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until the aioli has emulsified. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
1 ½ lbs. red potatoes, cut into ½ inch – 1-inch cubes
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons dried mustard
3 large hard-boiled eggs, cut into cubes
4 strips thick sliced smoked bacon cooked until crispy
2 green onions, sliced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Gently boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain well and cool to room temperature.
Place the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar and dried mustard in large salad bowl and whisk to combine. Add the potatoes and remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate salad until ready to serve.
Warm Potato Salad
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ½ pounds red potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
6 bacon slices, chopped
1 medium sized red onion, diced
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
Add potatoes to pot of salted cold water. Bring to a boil, over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm, if necessary. Add bacon to large sauté pan and cook until crisp over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and mustard and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and cook an additional 2 minutes. Pour the hot dressing over the potatoes, add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve warm with parsley garnish.
Chicken Salad with Grapes & Tarragon
1 lb. chicken, cooked and cut into cubes
½ lb. red grapes, halved
1 cup celery, chopped
4 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1 cup fresh mayonnaise
Salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Use immediately or keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Vinaigrettes are emulsified sauces that should have a smooth, creamy texture. They are not always easy to make and require patience when mixing to ensure the optimal results. You can vary the taste by using different oils and vinegars and buy adding a multitude of things to the initial base. Below are two of our favorites.
Gazpacho Pasta Salad
1 lb. of penne pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives roughly chopped
½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup feta cheese crumbled
For the dressing:
1 pound ripe red tomatoes, cored and roughly cut into chunks
1 Italian frying (cubanelle) pepper or another long, light green pepper, such as Anaheim, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 cucumber, about 8 inches long, peeled, seeded and roughly cut into chunks
1 small red onion, peeled and roughly cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & hot sauce to taste
To make the dressing:
Combine tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in a blender or, if using a hand blender, in a deep bowl. (If necessary, work in batches.) Blend at high speed until very smooth, at least 2 minutes, pausing occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.
Gazpacho Pasta Salad cont’d
With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. The mixture will turn bright orange or dark pink and become smooth and emulsified, like a salad dressing. If it still seems watery, drizzle in more olive oil until texture is creamy. Strain the mixture through a strainer, pushing all the liquid through with a spatula or the back of a ladle. Discard the solids. Chill the dressing for at least one hour but it will get better if you leave it in the fridge overnight.
Before serving, adjust the seasonings with salt, hot sauce and vinegar.
To make the salad
Place all the ingredients in a bowl, dress liberally with the dressing and serve.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper and to taste
Add the balsamic vinegar and the Dijon mustard to the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade. Season with salt & pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Turn on the processor and slowly add the oil in a steady stream through the lid. When all the oil has been added turn off the machine. Transfer the vinaigrette to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup grapeseed oil (or other mild tasting oil such as coconut oil)
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons honey
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Add the apple cider vinegar, honey and the mustard to the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade. Season with salt & pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Turn on the processor and slowly add the oil in a steady stream through the lid. When all the oil has been added turn off the machine. Transfer the vinaigrette to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
Mrs. Katherine Gittings Cold Slaw
1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons celery seed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, celery seed, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if necessary.