This is my go-to salad lately. Arugula, chickpeas, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, celery, roasted peppers, feta, pumpkin seeds, and most importantly breadcrumbs. Since I’ve been making home-made breadcrumbs in the last few months, I put them on everything and they instantly give that subtle crunch that is always welcome on any salad or pasta.
This salad has a lot of ingredients, but they are mostly staples in my fridge and pantry and you can easily add or subtract anything. What I really love about this salad is the dressing. Shallots, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I make a big batch in the beginning of the week and let it sit in the fridge for whenever I want to use it.
This is the perfect summer salad. No cooking required and lots of veggies. I got the inspiration from a Smitten Kitchen recipe a while ago and have been making different variations of it since then but usually always keep the feta and the mint. This time I used arugula, cucumbers, radishes, corn, scallions, chickpeas for some extra protein and simply dressed it with lemon juice and olive oil.
Arugula is usually my go-to green of choice for salads but in the summer, I often opt for the crisp, crunch of romaine when we’re going through yet another heat wave in this oppressive New York City summer.
I love caesar salad but I don’t usually order it at restaurants because I hate store-bought mayonnaise. I’m often afraid that while some places advertise a ‘house-made aioli’, they’re really just adding some lemon juice and garlic to Hellman’s. Instead, I like to make it at home with a basic egg yolk (or two), oil, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic and parmesan cheese. The dressing is pretty easy to make and if you don’t want to add anything else to the salad, it doesn’t even require any cooking or turning on your oven. Chicken and croutons are of course options and with a dressing this bold and flavorful, you don’t really need much else.
My boyfriend Junior was making sushi the other night at home and we needed something other than raw fish and rice to eat with the meal. I’ve been wanting to cook with miso more since it really adds that umami richness and something I don’t have as much experience using in cooking. This is a great recipe for someone who is not as familiar with miso since it is fairly foolproof (just add all ingredients to the food processor). I added the dressing to some chopped romaine since it’s substantial enough to hold up to a fairly chunky dressing. I also added some scallions and chopped cashews for a nice contrasting texture and bite.
Confession: There’s definitely an addicting quality to this dressing as I’ve been spreading it on toast, crackers, chips, etc. whenever I get the chance. It’s a perfect cross between sweet/savory/umami sensations that most of us can’t get enough of.
Umami: We’re said to have 5 different taste sensations. Sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. They’re all pretty easy to identify except for umami. There are a bunch of scientific explanations of what umami means which you can find on Wikipedia but I basically describe it as satisfying. For example; anchovies, parmigiano reggiano, seaweed, and soy sauce. Most people don’t eat these foods on their own but they add that final balance to a finished dish.
Mark Bittman has a great article about miso, especially if you’re buying it for the first time.