Another quick post from Vacationlandia. I’m still at our house in Umbria. I’m still working on my book and recipe testing my way through 14 menus that reflect meals I’ve had up and down Italy. But in between pork roasts, ravioli and crostini I’ve take a few breaks to make something that is completely off-brand and definitely off-pork.
This is the summer salad that I’ve been craving after I’ve made my 8th version of deep fried meatballs. And so I’ve been making it, on rotation, with slight variations, just about every other day for lunch.
There are four basic elements:
- The Base: Raw vegetables. Mostly salad greens from the farmers market, I also add cherry tomatoes from our own garden, and usually chopped carrots, bell pepper and cucumber.
- Fish: When I first thought of this salad I was going to use tuna, but then thought I needed something fresher and not out of a can. So far I’ve made it with baked salmon, leftover grilled swordfish steaks, and boiled shrimp.
- Garnish: I always like something slightly briny in my salads, usually olives and/or capers. But for this salad I quick pickle some red onions in vinegar and salt, and then slice some preserved artichoke hearts on top.
- Dressing: This is the best part and what really literally pulls it all together. I use an avocado dressing that is more or less my version of Green Goddess.
The reason I’m sharing this here is because so many people have asked for the recipe after I’ve posted the salads on Instagram. So here it is, my summer salad of 2017. (A.K.A.: antidote to pork overdose).
- 6 cups mixed salad greens
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- ¼ of a large bell pepper, diced
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- ½ sliced red onion
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup preserved arichoke hearts, but into quarters
- 1 pound/ 500 grams shrimp or salmon filet
- FOR DRESSING
- ½ very ripe avocado
- juice from one lemon (about ¼ cup)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 cup arugula leaves
- ¼ cup parsley leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly grated black pepper
- ¼ cup water
- Place the sliced onions in a small bowl with the vinegar and salt, stir and let sit for at least 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
- Cook the shrimp or salmon as you like. I usually boil the shrimp for 3 minutes, (if they are small) and then run under cool water. You can either pan fry the salmon or bake it in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Then let cool.
- To make dressing: place all the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth. Taste and adjust to your liking. I usually end up adding a bit more lemon juice. If it seems way too thick, you can add a bit more water.
- To assemble: place all of the salad greens and tomatoes, pepper and cucumbers on a large platter. Add about ⅔ of the dressing, some salt and pepper and then toss to mix.
- Scatter the shrimp or broken up fish across the top. Next scatter the drained onions and artichoke hearts. Finally drizzle the rest of the dressing on top. Serve!
My new book, Eating my Way through Italy, will be published by St. Martins in 2018 and my other new book The Italian Dinner Party Handbook will be published by Rizzoli in 2019. For updates on each of these visit this page on my website where I will be adding the links to buy it as soon as possible. Or even better, make sure you sign up for my monthly newsletter where I’ll be sharing news about the books and connected events in the USA and elsewhere.