Every summer I go on a salad binge. In a good way. It's just that I don't see any reason to be cooking and eating bean and potato dishes when I am going to have the whole winter for them. As a matter of fact I don't see much of a reason to cook at all when I can enjoy a crunchy, fresh, flavorful salad with nothing more but a knife and a cutting board (and a steamer basket in this case) in under 10 minutes from the fridge to the table. And so that I don't get into a rut eating the same tomato-cucumber concoction, I always try to find new salads to make. Here are two new finds.
But before I get to the recipes, a quick word on steaming: take it easy! Use the microwave timer and go for two minutes. At the end of that, taste a piece (careful, HOT!) and if the vegetable is a bit soft but still a bit crunchy, end it at that. Better undercook than overcook - we have all had enough of awful mushy vegetables.
Carrot Ginger Salad
3/4 lb carrots
1/2 - 1 Tbs ginger, minced
several springs of thyme, leaves only
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
a splash of sesame seed oil
the juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
This salad was inspired by something very similar I had at a bakery last week. The main ingredients were carrots, thyme and ginger and the salad was very lightly seasoned so that the carrot flavor came out. Lacking a significant source of protein this is really a side salad, mild and refreshing.
Chop the carrots in fat matchsticks and steam for three minutes until softened a bit but still crunchy. Cool and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Serve/eat chilled.
Green Bean Salad with Glazed Almonds
3/4 lb green beans
1 C cooked garbanzo beans
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbs ginger, minced
1/4 - 1/3 C cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 C whole raw almonds
1 Tbs soy sauce
A week ago I acquired some phenomenal Blue Lake green beans at the farmer's market and as much as I was enjoying munching on them raw, I really wanted to do something more grandiose with them. I found inspiration in this salad on Epicurious and added beans to make it more substantial. I tossed it with some greens to serve and enjoyed it for lunch yesterday. And for dinner. And for lunch today again. The beans can be steamed ahead of time.
Trim the ends of the beans and cut into inch long pieces. Steam for 2 minutes until bright green but still crunchy. Cool. In the mean time heat the almonds in a small dry skillet over low heat for a ~3-4 minutes until they start to brown. Pour in the soy sauce and stir in with the almonds and continues cooking until the sauce has evaporated. Cool the almonds and chop. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and chill for the flavors to blend.
So far so good. I have planned to try two more salads this week!