Three Fresh, Unique Salads With Some Wild Flavor
Is it time to spice up your menu or daily dinners with a new salad? Are you craving a dose of the green stuff but don't want the same old boring green mess? Well, these four recipes should help you on your way to getting some new, unique salads on the plate that are sure to please everyone. We'll look into a fresh beet salad, a zesty green salad, and a warm fiddlehead salad. I hope you enjoy them all!
Beets are an incredibly versatile vegetable that many people are not familiar with using in different ways. Beets have a great sweetness and earthy flavors that make them delicious on their own, and require just a little nudging from some bright and citrus flavors to create a great tasting dish.
For this beet salad you will need
- Beets (red) about 1 medium beet per salad
- Finely sliced red onion
- Fresh Arugula
- Fresh Dandelion Greens (or frisee)
- Beet Greens
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Lemon (juice and Zest)
- Salt and Pepper
For this salad I prefer to grill the beets. To start peel your beets with a peeler when raw and cut in to 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices all the same thickness. Coat with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill the beets until they are tender all the way through, about 5 minutes on each side.
While the beets are grilling, finely julienne the onion. Dice the red peppers, and chiffonade the beet greens. To prepare the dandelion greens remove the tips ( top 1/2 inch) and the bottoms, (bottom 1/2 inch) as these are the most bitter parts. Using a large mixing bowl, toss both of the greens, arugula, red peppers and onion with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To serve I like to cut the beets into half moons, and form a half circle just off center on the plate and then put the salad mix in the center. Top with lemon zest, and if you want some cheese in the salad a soft chevre is the perfect match.
Warm Fiddlehead Salad
Fiddleheads are a popular wild green used in many restaurants in the United States. Cinnamon ferns are easily the best ferns to use and can be found in a shady moist forest. You can usually find fiddleheads in the spring at your local farmers market. Only select those which are young tightly curled and without thick stalks.This salad pairs the asparagus like flavor of fiddleheads with mushrooms, tomatoes and sharp cheese flavors to create a tasty warm salad.
For this salad you will need:
- Fiddleheads, about 8 to 10 per person
- Portobella mushrooms, 1/2 of a large cap per person
- Fresh garlic
- Grape tomatoes about 8 per salad, halved
- Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
Start by washing then blanching the fiddleheads. To blanch. boil water and cook the fiddleheads for about 2 minutes and then transfer into an ice water bath to retain the vibrant green color. Blanching softens the fiddleheads for cooking, and removes any critters or dirt that washing missed. Next, coat the portobellos with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them until cooked, about 3 minutes each side.
As the portobellos are grilling, get a pan hot, and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. I like to get the pan nice and hot, almost smoking, and then blister the grape tomatoes and fiddleheads, turn the down to medium low and add a pinch of garlic, salt and pepper.
When the mushrooms are cooked, julienne them to the same thickness as the fiddleheads. In a small bowl, toss and place the salad in the center of you plate or bowl.
Take the cheese and grate or peel large but thin pieces over the top. Make sure to use large thin pieces and not a fine grate as small pieces of the cheese will quickly make the dish a single bland flavor as it will melt and stick to everything.
Almond Citrus Salad
Fruit, nuts, citrus, warm spices, sound good? Of course it does, especially for a nice refreshing summer salad that goes great with really any kind of protien. The key to this salad is balance, and not using too many greens, the preparation may be a bit different from tossing everything in one bowl but, a chiffonade helps the greens mix well with the fruits and nuts rather than creating a plate where it is hard to incoporate the two into each bite. This salad works because the citrus is enhanced by the vinegar, then subdued by sweetness, and finally yeilds to the warm flavors of almond and oilive oil.
What you need for this salad:
- Dandelion Greens
I use equal parts of these greens, if you can't find dandelion or frisee, you can use equal parts of arugula and a spring mix. Prepare the dandelion greens by removing the top and bottom 1/2 inch as described previously.
- Dried Sweetened Cranberries, a small handful per salad
- Oranges, about 1/2 orange per salad
- Frewsh Strawberries, 2 to 3 strawberries per salad
- Sliced Almonds, add according to your preference
- Garlic, 2 cloves per salad
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Red Wine Vinegar
Chiffonade the dandelion greens and frisee, mix the arugula in, toss in oilive oil , vinegar (just enough to coat the greents ) salt and pepper and set aside.
Slice the garlic (about 2 cloves per salad) toss in a pan with oilve oil and roast in the ove at 400 degrees until golden brown, about five to ten minutes.
Peel the orange clean the pith from then and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice the strawberries in to 1/4 inch slices. In a bowl toss the oranges strawberries, cranberries garlic, and almonds. Mix in the greens and mix thouroughly.
This salad looks nice serveed simply in a bow with a garnish of cranberries in the center, or orange zest.