Food & Drink

New spin on salads

Spring is the beginning of high salad season. But eating in season has a downside: Namely, boredom. Recently, Martha Stewart Living magazine freshened up some classics to help add variety to our menus — and actually enjoy a salad for lunch and with dinner.

Traditionally, an old-fashioned savory-sweet Waldorf salad is slathered in heavy mayonnaise. Martha Stewart freshens it up with greens and — creatively — roasted grapes, topping it off with a bright lemon vinaigrette that practically gloats how summer is just around the bend.

Spinach salad is a standby for those looking for protein (in the ubiquitous hard-boiled egg) and extra iron. Earthy undertones are typically highlighted with mushrooms and you might enjoy a little splurge with some crispy bacon. Martha Stewart spices it up and makes spinach salad seemingly sinful by subbing in chorizo, creamy fingerling potatoes and a deliciously oozy poached egg, all brightened with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Make a salad a meal with chicken and arugula topped with a balsamic-cherry reduction. Add a creamy, tangy side note with brie spread on toasted baguette.

Grilled pineapple brightens up a salad made with shrimp and topped with a little garden-fresh mint and chow mein noodles for crunchiness.

This spring and summer, salad never has to be boring.

ARUGULA-CHICKEN SALAD

For the balsamic-cherry reduction: 1 cup pitted sweet cherries ¼ cup balsamic vinegar ¾ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon olive oil For the dressing: ¼ cup lemon juice ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper For the salad: 6 heaping cups of arugula 1 to 2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced About 8 oz. brie cheese 8 crostini (see note)

Combine cherries, balsamic vinegar, salt and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the cherries are softened and vinegar is syrupy and sweet. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad greens with about ¾ cup of the dressing. (Reserve the rest to pass at the table.)

Divide the dressed arugula among four plates. Top with slices of chicken. Drizzle some of the balsamic-cherry reduction on top of each salad.

Spread brie on crostini, place 2 crostini on each salad, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Note: To make crostini, brush baguette slices with olive oil and bake in a 350-degree oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

The Wichita Eagle—05/11/11

NEW WALDORF SALAD

Roasted grapes: 1½ lbs. red seedless grapes 1 tablespoon powdered sugar 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil Dressing: 1 tablespoon minced shallot 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice ¼ teaspoon ground cumin ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper Salad: 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise,

plus ½ cup leaves 1 head frisee, trimmed 1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced ½ cup walnuts, toasted

Roast the grapes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss grapes with sugar and oil. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until just starting to wrinkle and burst,

25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Combine shallot, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, and cumin in a bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the salad: Toss grapes (without pan juices) with sliced celery and leaves, frisee, apple and walnuts. Drizzle salad with dressing, and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine.

The Wichita Eagle—05/11/11

NEW SPINACH SALAD

For the poached eggs: 1 tablespoon white vinegar 4 large eggs For the salad: 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 4 fingerling potatoes (about 12 oz.),

blanched and sliced crosswise ½

inch thick 5 oz. baby spinach 2 links cooked (not dried) chorizo,

sliced crosswise ½ inch thick For the dressing: 2 tablespoons minced shallot 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Poach the eggs: Add vinegar to a large saucepan of simmering water. Crack eggs into water, 1 at a time. Poach eggs until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towellined plate using a slotted spoon.

Make the salad: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook potatoes until golden, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon, and add spinach. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Cook chorizo until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Add to bowl using slotted spoon.

Make the dressing: Remove skillet from heat. Add shallot, and let cook for 30 seconds. Swirl in vinegar.

Pour dressing over salad, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with an egg. Makes 4 servings.

The Wichita Eagle—05/11/11

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