The Well-dressed Salad by Jennifer Joyce

Summer at last, we’ve just had the first new potatoes, radishes, baby beetroot, spinach and beans. Its either a feast or a famine, we’ve just been through the hungry gap in the garden and now suddenly there’s an abundance of produce, everything is leaping out of the ground. Tomatoes and cucumbers are not ripe yet but there’s lots to be going on with. This week with the sun beaming down we’ve been eating lots of yummy salad – I’ve just got a particularly exciting new book called ‘The Well-dressed Salad , recently published by Pavilion Books.
The author Jennifer Joyce looks glowing, as though she has been eating gorgeous healthy salad all her life. Jennifer was born in the US but her passion for food came from her Italian heritage. She travelled extensively and has developed a very eclectic lifestyle. Look out for her articles on food in Elle Deco and Weekend Telegraph. If you’d like to catch one of her cooking classes contact Books for Cooks or Divertimenti in London. She has also presented two TV series on the Food Network.
If you love salads and have a little room on your kitchen shelf this might just be the book to add to your collection. Its written with wit and enthusiasm and Joyce’s passion for salad shines through and will inspire everyone to experiment. She’s put a fresh spin on the basics including the classic Caesar Salad. She brought together an unusual and delectable collection of salad dishes from around the world, from the Mediterranean, North Africa, Asia and South America. The photos by Sian Irvine are mouth-watering. We’ve been having a really exciting week trying out recipes. Here are some of the many I want to try out that we’ve enjoyed so far.

The Well-dressed Salad by Jennifer Joyce, published by Pavillion Press.

Green Bean, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Anchovy, Caper and Garlic Dressing
Serves 6 (Appetizer) or 4 (Main Course)

11oz/300g fine green beans, trimmed
11oz/300g mixed yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
8oz/250g bocconcini (mini mozzarella) or 2 buffalo mozzarella balls, cut into 2cm/1inch pieces and drained on kitchen paper
3 tbsp shredded fresh basil
1 quantity Anchovy, Caper and Garlic Dressing (see recipe)
fresh basil leaves, to garnish

Cook the beans in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain and immediately immerse in iced water for 5 minutes or until chilled. Drain on kitchen paper.

This salad looks most beautiful composed rather than tossed, so place the ingredients on a large platter, arranging the beans, tomatoes, onion and mozzarella in separate piles. Sprinkle shredded basil over the top and drizzle with the dressing just before serving. Garnish with whole basil leaves.

Anchovy, Caper and Garlic Dressing

1 anchovy packed in oil, rinsed and chopped
10 small capers, rinsed and chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4fl oz/125ml good quality red wine vinegar (Cabernet Sauvignon)
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Avocado, Orange and Red Onion Salad with Black Olive Vinaigrette

Serves 6 (Appetizer) and 4 (Main Course)

large handful of rocket leaves (optional)
2 avocados, peeled and stoned (pitted)
2 oranges (preferably navel or blood varieties)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
½oz (15g) fresh basil leaves or flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Black Olive Vinaigrette

2 tbsp chopped pitted black olives
2 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Place a little rocket on each serving plate or on a large platter. Thinly slice the avocados and arrange the slices on top. Using a sharp knife, cut the peel and pith off the oranges, remove any pips (seeds) and then cut the flesh into 1cm/½ inch slices. Cut each slice into quarters and arrange on top of the avocado. Sprinkle the red onion slices and basil or parsley over the salad.

Put all the vinaigrette ingredients into a screw-top jar and shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

* The salad should be eaten fairly soon after it has been prepared. If you want to make it 1 hour before, squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice over the avocados and do not add the onion until just before serving. The vinaigrette can be made the day before and refrigerated.

Vietnamese Prawn Salad with Lime, Lemon Grass & Ginger Dressing

Serves 6 (Appetizer) or 4 (Main Course)

24 large, raw prawns
2 large carrots, cut into julienne
1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into julienne
2 medium cucumbers, de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red chilli, de-seeded and cut into julienne
15 fresh mint leaves
¾oz/20g fresh coriander leaves

Dressing

3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large red chillies, de-seeded and chopped
3 lemon grass stalks, lower third only thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
½ tsp ground black pepper

Garnish

3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
3 spring onions, white part only cut into julienne and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
1 large red chilli, de-seeded, cut into julienne and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

For the dressing: put the garlic, chillies, lemon grass, shallot and ginger into a food processor and process a paste. Scrape the paste into a bowl and stir in the Thai fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, coriander and pepper and set aside.

Peel the prawns, remove their heads and de-vein with a small paring knife. Bring a medium pan of water to the boil, add the prawns and remove with a slotted spoon when they turn pink. Rinse prawns under cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

Combine the carrots, pepper, cucumbers, red onion, red chilli, mint and the prawns in a large bowl. Just before serving, pour over the dressing and mix well. Serve the salad on a large platter with the coriander leaves, spring onions and chilli strips sprinkled over it.

Variations

This salad is delicious with chicken, seared beef fillet (tenderloin) or fresh seared tuna in place of prawns. Thin glass (cellophane) or vermicelli noodles could be used for vegetarians. Add crushed peanuts, cashews and/or fried shallots and Fried Ginger Sticks.

Asian Savoy Cabbage Salad

Serves 6 (Appetizer) or 8 (Side Dish)

½ Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots cut into julienne
1 red pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and thinly sliced
8 spring onions , thinly sliced
3 shallots, finely chopped
1oz/25g fresh coriander leaves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Dressing

Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp regular soy sauce
1½ tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
4fl oz/125ml groundnut (peanut oil)

Put all the vegetables, the coriander and salt and pepper into a large bowl. Place all the dressing ingredients into a screw-top jar and shake well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.

Variations

White cabbage could replace Savoy with great results. Grilled prawns or thinly sliced seared beef could be added for a more substantial salad. Crispy Shallots or crushed peanuts would be delicious added.

Claire McSweeney’s Wakame Seaweed Salad

I tasted this delicious salad at a recent meeting of the Cork Free Choice Consumer’s Group and Claire McSweeney generously shared her recipe with us.

Serves 8

1 bag of Wakame Seaweed
1 large cucumber

Dressing:
6 tablesp. rice wine vinegar
3 tablesp. Shoyu soy Sauce
2 tablesp. sugar

1 handful pickled ginger

Pour lots of cold water over the seaweed and leave re-hydrate for about 15 minutes.

Peel the cucumber in strips along the length, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and slice thinly.
Put about 8 fl.ozs (250ml) of water into a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the sliced cucumber. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a saucepan, warm gently until the sugar has dissolved. 

Drain the cucumber and press out any excess water.
Drain the seaweed well and rinse with cold water. Drain very well again.

Mix all the ingredients together with the pickled ginger.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving, so it becomes cool and crisp.

Great with fried fish or tempura.

Foolproof Food

Fresh Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 6 - 8

6 ozs (170g) flour
4 ozs (110g) butter
2 ozs (55g) castor sugar

½ lb (225g) strawberries
8 fl ozs (250ml) chantilly cream - whipped sweetened cream
1 teasp. icing sugar
Garnish: 6 - 8 whole strawberries and fresh mint leaves

Rub the butter into the flour and castor sugar as for shortcrust pastry. Gather the mixture together and knead lightly. Rest dough for a few minutes if you have time. Roll out into 2 circles 7 inches (17.5cm) in diameter, ¼ inch (7mm) thick. Bake in a preheated moderate oven 180C/350F/regulo 4, 15 minutes approx or until pale golden . Remove and cool on a rack. One circle may be marked with a knife into wedges while still warm, to facilitate cutting later.
Shortly before serving, sandwich with chantilly cream and halved sugared strawberries. Sieve icing sugar over the top and decorate with rosettes of cream, whole strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
Note: Individual strawberry shortcakes may be made with 3 inch (7.5cm) discs of shortbread. Cut the strawberries lengthways and brush with red currant jelly if available.

Hot Tips 

West Cork Food and Drink Fair at Mannings Emporium, Ballylickey on 19th & 20th June – today there will be a Food & Drink Quiz and on Sunday cooking demonstrations with Carmel from Good Things Café, Durrus and Ivan of Grapefruit Moon in Ballycotton. Special Guests John & Sally McKenna.

Waterford City Market at Jenkins Lane
Opened for business on Saturday 5th June – colourful range of quality local food produce, hand crafts and bustling atmosphere – supported by Waterford City Council. Open every Saturday 10-4 situated at Beach Tower off Georges St.

Other thriving new Markets springing up around the country – Dungarvan, Naas, Fermoy, Blackrock Park, Co Dublin ……..

If you plan a trip to London during the summer and would like to take in a cookery demonstration – check out
Books for Cooks – 4 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 INN (Notting Hill)
Tel 00 44 207 221 1992
Divertimenti – 34 Marylebone High St. London W1U 4PT Tel. 00 44 207 935 0689

Fresh Irish Strawberries – look out for your nearest grower or pick your own and enjoy the real taste of summer.