Monday, July 28, 2008

The Art of the Garden Salad

There is something about the summer that makes me want to eat salads every night for dinner. There are a couple of reasons why, the first of which is that are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables available and a salad is the easiest way to eat as many of them as possible. It's also a super easy dinner that doesn't involve any "real" cooking (ie. heat) and is light enough that we can eat 9PM without feeling stuffed.

Since starting my new gig at HubSpot, an inbound marketing startup here in Cambridge, I haven't had as much time as I did before to cook. This means I have been making a lot of salads, but it does not mean that JR and I have been suffering. This weekend I combined spicy radishes and sweet pea tendrils from the farmers market with cucumbers, red peppers and red onions for a colorful crunchy side salad. We tossed it with a balsamic parmesan dressing (something my father's college roommate, LV, taught me years ago) and it was scrumptious.

Then last night I made up a salad that I believe has everything wonderful about the summer in it. JR's sister made this for us once last summer and it was all I could do not the eat the whole thing and force the rest of them to starve. It's the perfect combination of fresh farmer's market tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, spicy red onions and flavorful basil and parsley. You throw them all together with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and it's an amazing combination. We had it with Mustard Garlic Chicken last night and it made me wish it was summer all year long.

Tonight I decided to try something new. The last item in my farmer's market goodie basket was some beautiful baby bok choy. I was planning on sauteing it, like I do every single time I get it. Then my parents came home from a BBQ this weekend and told me that someone used it for a salad. I was intrigued. I love bok choy, but I rarely buy it because as far as I knew there was one recipe and one way to make it. It's possible my life was changed this evening.

I took the bok choy and sliced it thin including both the leafy green parts and the crunchy white stems. I then tossed it with some sliced green onions and a tangy Asian sesame vinaigrette (if I had a recipe I would have made it, but this time I went with store bought) and then sprinkled it with some sesame seeds. This looked so pretty that I had to take a photo, just look at all that crunchy green goodness.

Then I chopped up some left over grilled chicken, a couple of hard boiled eggs and the last heirloom tomato and threw them on top (ok, I didn't throw anything, I strategically placed them to try and make it as pretty as possible.) Before I knew it, I had an amazing Asian Cobb Salad! It's even healthy because I skipped the blue cheese crumbles, bacon and oh-so-amazing ranch dressing that makes a Cobb Salad bad for you!

My only regret was that the toppings covered the colorful green bok choy, but it tasted great and you better believe I will be using bok choy as a salad base much more frequently from now on.

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1 comment:

carlsonpb said...

The salad ideas are terrific. I, too, have limited bok choi to Chinese food and the saute pan, so your recipe is a revelation. Thanks so much for the idea. Hope you are getting settled in your new place ven if you don't have as much time to enjoy your new kitchen. Maybe we'll catch up with you over the holidays. If not, you and Jared have a wonderful holiday and happy new year. GAP