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With Summer in Full Swing, Take This Easy Route

June 21, 2012 By:
Linda Morel
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We had to pick up friends arriving by train at noon. The station was more than an hour away.

"I'm going to tell them to expect lunch," I said.

"But we can't start cooking when we get home," my husband said. "It will be after one o'clock. What will you serve?"

"Salads," I replied. "They're easy and can be made ahead."

The best thing about salads is their versatility. With or without lettuce, you can toss together any vegetables, whether they are raw, roasted, steamed or sauteed in oil.

Berries are a great addition, too. Cheese is a filling ingredient amid a medley of low-calorie ingredients. There's no end to the variations you can whip up in practically no time.

To keep pre-assembled salads crisp, I place paper towels between layers of cut-up produce. I remove them just before adding the dressing.

With summer in full swing, I go the easy route when it comes to planning meals. I sear some meat or fish on the grill and dazzle everyone with a refreshing salad or two.

To turn a salad from a side dish into an entrée, I add sliced steak, shredded turkey breast or diced pieces of roasted chicken to any mixture of leaves, vegetables and vinaigrette.

 

Arugula Salad No. 1

(Dairy)

1 bunch arugula 
1-2 tomatoes 
1 chunk of fresh Parmesan cheese 
olive oil for drizzling 
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Rinse the arugula under water. Remove moisture in a salad spinner or dry in paper towels. Cut off stems, if still attached.

Arrange on a platter. The recipe can be made several hours in advance up to this point, if you surround the arugula with paper towels.

With a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes thin and place over the arugula.

With a cheese slicer, slice off paper-thin slivers of Parmesan and arrange generously over the tomatoes. Drizzle oil and vinegar over the top. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

 

Arugula Salad No. 2

(Meat)

1 bunch arugula 
1-2 tomatoes 
8-12 thin slices of broiled or grilled steak (can be leftovers from another meal) 
kosher salt to taste 
freshly ground pepper to taste 
olive oil for drizzling 
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Rinse the arugula under water. Remove moisture in a salad spinner or dry in paper towels. Cut off stems, if still attached. Arrange on a platter. The recipe can be made several hours in advance up to this point, if you surround the arugula with paper towels.

With a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes thin and place over the arugula.

Arrange the sliced steak over the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the steak. Drizzle on the oil and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Serves four as a side dish or two as a main course.

 

A Berry Nice Waldorf Salad

(Pareve)

1 red-skinned apple, such as Cortland, Fuji or Gala 
12 strawberries 
2 stalks of celery, cleaned and diced 
4 Tbsps. chopped walnuts 
4 Tbsps. golden raisins 
1/2 cup light mayonnaise 
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1/4 tsp. sugar

Slice the apple into quarters. Cut away and discard the seeds and core. Keep the skin on. Finely dice the apple.

Cut away the stems and hulls of the strawberries. Cut into bite-sized pieces, if the strawberries are large.

Place the apple, strawberries and remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Gently mix ingredients with a spoon, until well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered with plastic wrap for several hours. Transfer to an attractive bowl before serving.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

 

A Sliced and Diced Salad

(Pareve)

1 yellow pepper, rinsed, stem removed and seeded 
1 English cucumber, fine seeds removed 
6 Italian plum tomatoes, seeds removed 
4 scallions, cleaned and sliced thin 
2-3 tsps. minced dill 
1/8 tsp. garlic powder 
kosher salt to taste 
oil and vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette for drizzling

Dice the pepper, cucumber and tomatoes. Place them in a mixing bowl. Add the scallions, dill, garlic powder and salt. Drizzle on oil and vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette. Mix together with salad servers.

Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours. Present in an attractive bowl, preferably glass.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

 

A Hearty Summer Salad

(Meat)

1 stalk celery, cleaned 
1 cucumber, peeled, cut in half and seeds removed 
1 carrot, peeled 
1 red pepper, raw or roasted 
8-10 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried in a salad spinner or in paper towels 
4 mushrooms, sliced 
1 large tomato, cut into wedges 
1 hard-boiled egg, cooled and sliced 
1/2 lb. turkey breast (from the deli), sliced thin and then shredded 
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives or any good quality black olives 
2 Tbsps. red onion, minced 
kosher salt to taste 
oil and vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette 
baguette or any fresh bread (optional)

Dice the celery, cucumber, carrot and red pepper. Place them in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining ingredients through the kosher salt.

Drizzle on the oil and vinegar or your favorite vinaigrette. Mix the ingredients well with salad servers and serve immediately with bread (optional).

Serves 4 as a main course.

Linda Morel is a writer based in New York City. Email her at: lindam212@aol.com.

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