Main Entry: salad days
Function: noun plural : time of youthful inexperience or indiscretion
Summer has been very late getting going here in Paris but it finally seems to have arrived. As a result, I am now in the mood to take advantage of all the fresh vegetables that are now available in the markets. The fact that I am not allowed to eat salads at lunch in restaurants (because of the chance they might not be well-washed) means that I'm doubly eager to make myself a salad for dinner. As a salad doesn't really qualify as a complicated recipe (and it's darned difficult to be truly original) I'm grouping two of them together here: No-Work Buffalo Wing Salad (above) and Summer Cobb Salad.
No-Work Buffalo Wing Salad
Whenever I am back in the US, I love ordering buffalo wings. They have to be spicy, they usually are greasy and they must be accompanied by blue cheese dressing and celery. However, there is no denying they are a messy pain in the behind to eat. This salad, then, is my attempt to reproduce some of the elements that make buffalo wings delicious while not involving hundreds of napkins. Unfortunately, it also means you lose some of the flavour and much of the charm, but you can't have everything in this world. Salads should also be simple and quick to make, and this recipe is both.
Ingredients (makes two large salads)
2 chicken breasts
1/3 cup of your favourite barbecue sauce
several dashes of Tabasco (to taste)
a few dashes of celery salt
1/2 cup sweet corn
lettuce (mix of romaine and iceberg)
2 medium tomatoes
several slices of roasted, marinated peppers
1/3 cup blue cheese
1 heaping Tbs mayonnaise
1 heaping Tbs crème fraiche
1 Tbs sherry vinegar
1 Tbs Marsala wine
Several good grindings of pepper
Mix together the barbecue sauce with the Tobasco and celery salt and set the chicken breasts to marinate in it for at least fifteen minutes. In the meantime, prepare the other vegetables (chopping tomatoes, tearing lettuce, etc.). Prepare the dressing by mixing the last six ingredients. You may want to add a tablespoon or two of water to make it a thinner consistency. Slap your chicken on a grill or grill pan and start assembling the salad with all the other ingredients. I put the dressing on the salad before the chicken as it looked prettier and also meant that the chicken wasn't drowned in blue cheese. Turn the chicken breasts a few times to get some nice grill marks and when it is done remove from the pan and slice in thin strips. Sprinkle over the salad and serve!
Summer Cobb Salad
Actually, the nebulous connection between this recipe and a true Cobb salad is the lettuce...and the chicken breast meat. Otherwise I just threw together some things that were in the fridge that seemed like they would go well with these two. Since I started making sandwiches for lunch more often a couple of months ago I have discovered how useful it is to have a bit of lunch meat in the fridge. It's great as a midnight snack, goes well on salads and sometimes (if it's pork-based) is great wrapped around another piece of protien. But I digress...
Strips of chicken lunch meat
Feta cheese (crumbled)
Thin slices of fresh red pepper
1 heaping tsp grain mustard
1 Tbs vinegar
1 Tbs chopped frozen basil
1/3 cup olive oil
pinch of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
Layer the first seven ingredients on your plate prettily. Put the remaining six ingredients in a small jar and shake, shake, shake. Drizzle this dressing over your salad and enjoy!
Here's to the heyday of salad vegetables!