Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini, Salami, and Olive Tapenade

antipasto salad with bocconcini and olive tapenade - trustinkim

Here’s a salad for the meat lovers out there, and it makes a good meal salad on a warm day, or a starter if you make a smaller portion. If you have vegetarians or non-pork eaters at your table, the salad is also delicious without the salami. You could always add a boiled egg as an alternative.

It’s an easy recipe, and just requires a bit of chopping. The dressing can be made a day ahead to speed things up.

I visited an Italian specialty store to find the ingredients, but you should be able to find similar items at your local grocery store.

I found this Nancy Silverton recipe on the Food & Wine site, and served it with a lovely homemade no-knead focaccia and a crisp white wine. I halved the recipe, and my version feeds four people. The only change I made to the recipe was to add the salami to the top instead of mixing it in with the dressing. That way it can be left off for people who don’t want any, or want less meat; I think it looks nicer with the salami on top for presenting family-style on the table.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons green-olive tapenade
  •  2 tablespoons peperoncini—stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cups bocconcini
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 small head of iceberg lettuce, halved, cored and finely shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 85 grams (3 oz) thinly sliced Genoa salami, cut into thin strips (about 3/4 cup)
  • 6 small basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of your favourite green olives

What you do:

  1. Combine the tapenade, peperocini and half of the olive oil in a bowl, then toss the bocconcini in it. This can be refrigerated and used later or the next day.
  2. In another bowl combine the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and oregano. Whisk in the remaining half of the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the shredded lettuce in a large bowl, then add the marinated bocconcini and half of the salad dressing. Toss well, then plate the salad on a large platter.
  4. Add the salami strips to the top of the salad and top it with the basil and olives. Drizzle on a little bit more dressing, and serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Corn Salad

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Now that the warmer weather is here I’m starting to think about what to make for patio and picnic time. This salad is super tasty, and really healthy too. For me it’s a great quick meal salad, and since it keeps in the fridge for a few days I can just dig in whenever I need a little something to eat. You can also mix and match at you see fit, for example if you don’t like peppers you can substitute a bit of jicama or apple or whatever you’d like.

If you use canned beans and corn, all you have to do is make the dressing and add in whatever veg and herbs you like – super easy! Then let it all sit for about half an hour before you dig in.

I found the recipe here, and I just downsized the amounts. I used canned corn instead of frozen because I find frozen corn a bit rubbery, and peaches and cream corn is the best. I also added some freshly chopped tomato to the top of each salad, and a bit of extra bell pepper.

Avocado makes a great addition to the top of each salad serving. Sadly, I could not find a ripe avocado in the five stores I checked. They could charge double for the ripe ones… I’d pay double for a perfectly ripe avocado – would you?

What you need for the salad:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • I can peaches and cream corn, along with the liquid
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and diced (amount dependent on your heat preferences)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

What you need for the dressing:

  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

What you do:

  1. Mix up all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Stir the dressing into the salad.
  3. Let the salad sit in the fridge with a cover over it for half an hour, or a few hours.

 

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates, Almonds and Toasted Pita

Ottolenghi baby spinach salad with dates and almonds - trustinkim

This is SUCH a great salad! In my cookbook library is a copy of the amazing Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, which contains this recipe, but I didn’t think to make it until I saw rave reviews online. So many people were commenting that this was their favourite salad, and now I know what they are talking about. It is my new favourite salad, and I can hardly wait to make it again.

I love the buttery toasted almonds and pita tossed in sumac. The onions (I used red because they are pretty) that are nicely mellowed in a vinegar marinade, along with the dates which become meltingly delicious, and their sweetness is balanced by the onion and vinegar.

I served this with the most delicious Cinnamon Curry Roast Chicken and potatoes. It was plenty of food for four people.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g pitted Medjool dates (about 5), quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Place the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt. Mix well with your hands, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes or more. Drain the extra vinegar
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pita and almonds, stirring to cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. The pita should become crunchy and brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let this cool.
  3. To prepare the salad toss the spinach with the pita in a large bowl, then add the dates and onion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve right away!

Enjoy!

 

Homemade Croutons

homemade croutons - trustinkim

A photo cannot portray how addictive these croutons are. So here’s what happens  –  I make a batch, and most of them get snacked on before they even make it as far as a salad topping. Inevitably I save a few for a salad, and every time it is the Best Salad Ever because these things are just so delicious.

I think the best part is the hint of lemon in them. They’ve also got a little garlic (I use a clove of garlic instead of the powder that the recipe calls for), some thyme and paprika.

The recipe comes from Thug Kitchen. I use a lower baking temperature than the 400 degrees that the cookbook calls for, because I find they get a bit too blackened at the high temperature. I also add a little more lemon juice. Today I made them and (gasp!) I was out of olive oil, so I substituted butter – big thumbs up on that one!

My favourite salad to serve these on at the moment is a caesar salad with a lighter dressing made with yogurt.

You can keep these for a while in an airtight container.

What you need:

  • 1/2 loaf day-old bread (about 5 cups of cubes) (I like Olivier’s French Whole Wheat)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons or more of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 300F.
  2. Cut the bread into cubes.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it up.
  4. Add the bread and toss it right away so all the pieces of bread get coated.
  5. Pour the bread onto a baking pan and shake it out so it is distributed around the pan evenly in one layer.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring a few times throughout the baking so it doesn’t burn.
  7. Enjoy!

 

17th Century Italian Cucumber Salad

cucumber salad - trustinkim

I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for recipes to use the cucumbers that are growing in my garden. This blogger has a love for old recipes, and published this one, which is her version of a 17th century dish. She says it is “An interpretation of a dish described in Salvatore Massonio’s Archidipno overo dell’insalata e dell’vso di essa, published in Venice in 1627.”

It’s a really simple recipe, as are many of the best vegetable recipes. It should be prepared an hour or two before you plan to eat it.

I substituted sweet onion for regular, as I often do, and I peeled my cucumber because the peel on this variety is a little too bitter for me. In the original recipe the basil is added before refrigerating, but I like to add it at the end so that it retains its green colour. My version of the recipe is for two, and the measurements are approximate.

Please, please, please, don’t use dried basil for this recipe. It’s just not right. It really doesn’t taste like fresh basil. If you have no fresh basil, I’d opt to leave it out. You can freeze basil, so it retains the fresh flavour; if you use previously frozen basil in this salad it will be darker than fresh basil, but will still taste good.

After eating the salad I used the remaining dressing to pickle some cucamelons – these adorable little cucumbers that resemble a miniature watermelon. It was this summer’s garden experiment. The verdict? Cute, but I prefer a regular cucumber. The peel to inside ratio is a little high on the peel side.

cucamelon salad - trustinkim

What you need for two people:

  • 1 small cucumber or 1/2 an English cuke
  • a small chunk of an Onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • a few pinches of salt
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

What you do:

  1. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl or large jar.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half, then slice it lengthwise. Slice as thinly as you can, using a mandoline if you have one. Cut the onion in half and slice it as thinly as you can. Place the cucumber and onion in the container with the dressing and toss it well so it’s all coated.
  3. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
  4. Before serving chop the basil finely and stir it in.

Enjoy!

Cabbage Slaw with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

seedy cabbage slaw - trustinkim

After making a batch of borscht I always have some leftover cabbage, so I like to make a coleslaw with it. A while ago I found a few awesome recipes in the cookbook Mamushka by Olia Hercules. The unrefined sunflower oil she uses in the recipe has a more pronounced sunflowery taste than the refined stuff, so it’s worth a try.

I added red bell pepper to mine for a little extra colour.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 0ptional: 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped

What you do:

  1. Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan on medium heat. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn! Remove the seeds from the pan to cool down.
  2. Mix the sunflower oil, vinegar, sugar and a little salt together in a salad bowl. Add the onion and let it sit in the dressing for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the flavour of the onion to mellow a little.
  3. While the onion and dressing are getting to know each other, prepare the cabbage, carrots and optional bell pepper. Add them to the bowl, and mix to coat them in dressing.
  4. Garnish with the dill and toasted sunflower seeds.

Beet, Jicama and Pepita Salad

Beet, Jicama and Pepita Salad - trustinkim

The sweetness of beets combined with the crispness of the jicama, tossed in a simple lime dressing, come together to create a delicious and refreshing salad. Jicama is a mild, crunchy, and slightly sweet-tasting root vegetable that has a lot of healthy properties. If you’ve never tried it before, I recommend giving it a try; it’s pretty easy to like. Read here for more info about nutritional properties of jicama.

 

I found the recipe in a Rick Bayless cookbook, and just made a few changes. Because I had these salad greens in my garden, I substituted the radicchio that the recipe called for. I also substituted toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for the peanuts.

What you need:

  • 1 pound beets (about 4 medium beets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or unrefined peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus a little zest
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 pound (about 1/2 medium) jicama, peeled and cut into 3/4 cm thick batons
  • salt to taste
  • salad greens
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted and cooled

What you do:

  1. Cook the beets in boiling water until they are soft all the way through. When cooled, peel and cut into 3/4 cm thick batons.
  2. Whisk the oil, lime juice, lime zest and agave nectar together.
  3. Combine the beets, jicama, and dressing. Salt to taste.
  4. Serve the beets and jicama on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the pepitas to serve.