Monday, February 7, 2011

Salad Course

I had a weekend that could only be described by a set of words that I don’t currently possess. For now, because I have an affinity for the word, lovely will have to do. It was a perfectly relaxing whirlwind of fun, and most importantly, I got to catch up with several people along the way. One of the concerned citizens struck by the Hearnicane asked if I had made anything for the Super Bowl? Knowing good and well that I would say yes, he was armed for critical battle. As it turns out, my menu was a bit impractical for such an occasion. The dish that sent him over the edge was the lemon hummus on endive. Apparently this sideline snack was not football worthy. I thought the green and yellow was symbolic of one of the teams playing, Sir! Is that too much of a stretch? Well, it seems that I might not be cut out for football fare, so this week I am going to dish out something more my style. With a week to go before Valentine’s Day, have you thought about what you’re going to serve if you’re not dining out? This week, It is my goal to give you 2 options, per course, per day, all made to mix and match for 2.

First Course: Salad

Watercress, Endive, and Clementine Salad

Simple and refreshing this salad is a great accompaniment to any meat or poultry dish. The fresh citrus flavor also works as a great foil to fatty or rich dishes. It’s a great addition to any cooks repertoire.

1 Bunch of watercress, washed and spun dry
1 Small bulb of endive
3 Clementine’s
½ tablespoon of good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

TRIM the stalks from the watercress and endive, put the sprigs into a shallow serving bowl and set aside.

PEEL the Clementine’s and reserve the segments. Squeeze the leftover skins over a small bowl to provide about ½ a tablespoon of juice and citric oil. Add the olive oil and some salt and pepper and whisk well.

SCATTER the orange segments over the watercress and trickle over the dressing.

TOSS well and serve.

Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese

This salad is a classic favorite and always seems to put a smile on a man's face. If you like fresh and crisp greens, this is the one for you.

1 Head of iceberg, outer most leaves removed, washed and spun dry.
Cherry tomatoes, sliced*
Blue cheese crumbles
Blue cheese dressing*
Bacon crumbles*

SLICE the iceberg into half and then quarters. While the cutting board is out, SLICE the cherry tomatoes.

PLACE a dollop of dressing onto a chilled salad plate to help the wedges stay upright while assembling.

SPRINKLE with blue cheese crumbles and bacon bits.

DRIZZLE with blue cheese dressing.

The cherry tomatoes can be oven broiled if you have the time. This will draw out the moisture and remove some of the acidic flavor of a fresh tomato leaving it a bit more tender and savory.

The blue cheese dressing can of course be homemade, but in a pinch and short on time, the home-style store bought stuff works just as well.

I don’t love the fake Bacon-Bits. In fact, they really gross my out. So why not buy a package of un-cooked microwavable bacon and create your own? Of course you can work with the really good stuff in a frying pan, but this step saves time and another dirty dish. Plus it’s easier to get the bacon extra dry and crispy to crumble.

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