This post is less about a recipe than it is about a concept of a meal. I whipped up this steak salad a few days back from a great variety of goodies in the fridge, it was the perfect meal for a warm spring evening. Once I had everything arranged on the platter I drizzled a quick homemade balsamic vinaigrette over the whole shebang and served it up with a crispy artisan loaf fresh from the oven. As simple as this dish was, I was amazed that so many at the table commented on how they never think to make a salad like this as a way to use up leftover meat.
This salad was inspired by one I ate a few times while living in Paris. While there, we occasionally grabbed lunch at a trendy little joint called L’Avenue on avenue Montaigne in the city’s chic 8th arrondissement. There was hardly anything better than sitting on the restaurant’s terrace on a spring day, washing down a chilled haricot vert salad with a crisp chablis, all the while watching the beautiful people pass by on their way to spending oodles of ching on Paris’ premiere fashion shopping street.
I whipped up this great grain salad the other day as a side dish to serve with some pork chops from the grill….it was sublime. The earthy chew of the farro accented by the brininess of the olives, the sweetness of the tomatoes, and veggie goodness brought by the artichokes and spinach had this one firing on all cylinders.
I first came across this salad over a year ago on my friend Stacey's awesome blog, Stacey Snacks. I filed it away in Evernote where it has sadly resided unused ever since. I first reached for it a couple weeks ago when we gathered friends together for a BBQ to celebrate Jordan's graduation and it was such a hit that I made it again just the other day when my folks were in town as a side to one of my favorite steak dishes.
Not sure why I'm on such a classic-steakhouse-fare kick lately, first with the creamed spinach and now with the wedge salad, but hey it's been a long winter and I'm just craving these substantial dishes. I've got my eye on a Steak Diane recipe too, so stay tuned our tour through steakhouse land may not be over just yet.
Not sure why, but I almost never buy cabbage to use as a salad green. It's a shame really because it can add such great color and crunch to lots of salad preparations, and so shouldn't be reserved for just making slaws or braising. For those of you who have only had cabbage cooked to within an inch of it's life in a boiled dinner, or served up along side some bratwurst, this dish will be a revelation for you. Raw cabbage is a crunchy treat that you'll find yourself adding to all sorts of salads to give them some structure.
I love a good coleslaw, don't you?
Too bad they're so hard to find. Most are overdressed, sickly sweet and consist of just shredded green cabbage with maybe one or two carrots thrown in for color if you're lucky….ugh.
A shame really, because a good slaw is the perfect summer side dish. Crunchy and fresh with raw vegetable goodness and lightly dressed with a tart-sweet dressing, a good slaw is great with anything coming off the grill. Rather than the traditional (and in my opinion, rather boring) straight up cabbage slaw, I like to make mine with a broccoli slaw mix that not only adds some dark green veggie nutrition to the mix, but texturally is head (get it, broccoli comes in heads) and shoulders above just having plain old cabbage.
This little ditty is something I whipped up with some leftover cooked barley from a Cooking Matters class I taught last week. It was the first class of a six week session and was all about healthy cooking basics, with a focus on the My Plate diet recommendations. Given that My Plate recommends a diet that leans heavily towards whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and looks to dairy and lean protiens (meats) to play a lesser role, I wanted to cook a meal with our students that pretty well reflected this thinking.
This recipe is a slight adaptation of one I recently found in Bon Appetit Magazine. Their recipe called for making the salad with farro, but as I had a rather large bin of wheat berries, I used them as a substitute. The original also called for using raw red onion and parsley in the salad, but in deference to my wife's sensitive stomach I nixed the onion, and for personal preference used cilantro instead of the parsley. We served the salad warm along side the pork roast, then had it again cold as left-overs later in the week, and we loved it both ways. This is definitely a grain salad that would serve you well over the course of the week if you made a big batch with a roast for Sunday dinner. It is a gift that keeps on giving.