Cuban Rice Salad (Ensalada de Arroz)

Part 2 of my Cuban salad series. Fantastic hearty salad with chicken and rice! Great for outdoor parties or picnics.  I omitted the toasted sesame seeds, for personal taste.  Adapted from Cuba, the cookbook. Recipe invented by Vivian Costa Leal, a Cuban housewife.

 

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely cooked chicken
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup or more mayonnaise

 

Directions

  1. Roast the peppers over an open flame or broiler. Place in a bowl fuller ice water. Peel off the skin, and cut into strips. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the onions and vinegar. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3.  In a medium fry pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes till the garlic is fragrant. Stir in salt. Set aside.
  4.   In  a large bowl combine half the peppers and the rest of the ingredients. Salt to taste. Use the remaining peppers to decorate the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

 

 

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Cuban Chicken Salad (Ensalada de Pollo)

A staple served at parties. This isn’t my great aunt’s version but close.   Adapted from Cuban Chicks Can Cook, by Ana Quincoces Rodriquez

 

Cuban Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasted chicken shredded without skin
  • 4 large peeled red potatoes, cubed into 1-inch pieces and boiled till tender
  • 1 large green apple peeled and finely chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 hard boiled eggs, 3 finely chopped, use 1 for decoration
  •   3/4 cup peas
  • 1 cup canned asparagus tips, reserve 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 1 small can diced pimentos, reserve 2 tablespoons liquid
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, reserved pea and pimento liquid, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in the chicken, I used my hands. Add remaining ingredients. Toss well.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise if necessary.
  4. You can decorate the top with slices of egg, any left over pimento pieces, peas or asparagus.

 

Panzanella with Shrimp and Fennel

Great summer salad! Adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s Celebrate Like an Italian.

 

Panzanella with Shrimp and Fennel

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1-2 day old bread cut into cubes, (about 6 cups)
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and slice thinly
  • 1 bunch scallion, white and green parts chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled ad deveined

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet, and toast until crisp but not browned. About 7 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, fennel, scallions, and cucumber. Sprinkle the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss well.  Add the bread cubes, toss to soak in the vinegar. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt. Cook until the shrimp is cooked through for about 3 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp to the salad and toss well.

 

Roasted Chicken with Fregola Salad

With temperature in the high 90’s last week, I searched for some great salads for dinner. This delicious chicken salad is adapted from The Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook. I used a rotisserie   chicken found at a local market and I used Israeli couscous instead of fregola.

 

 

Roasted Chicken with Fregola Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces of fregola or Israeli pearl couscous
  • 1 pound roasted chicken breast, shredded
  • 10 ounces grape tomatoes
  • 1 10-ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • 4 cups (packed) baby arugula
  • 1 4-ounce jar grilled artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Vinaigrette, plus more for serving (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • salt and pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil, add slowly

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the fregola, chicken, tomatoes, red peppers, arugula, and artichokes. Toss with the vinaigrette, then top with the pine nuts.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water, the mustard, and the honey, then gradually whisk in the oil until emulsified. Leftover dressing can be covered tightly and store din the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Panzanella with Shrimp and Fennel

Great summer salad! Adapted from Lidia Bastianich’s Celebrate Like an Italian.

 

Panzanella with Shrimp and Fennel

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • 1 1-2 day old bread cut into cubes, (about 6 cups)
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and slice thinly
  • 1 bunch scallion, white and green parts chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled ad deveined

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet, and toast until crisp but not browned. About 7 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, fennel, scallions, and cucumber. Sprinkle the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss well.  Add the bread cubes, toss to soak in the vinegar. Drizzle with the 1/2 cup of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp and season with salt. Cook until the shrimp is cooked through for about 3 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp to the salad and toss well.

 

Poached Salmon Salad

A fantastic salad for the summer! It would also make a nice presentation on a buffet table.  Adapted from Lidia Bastiniach’s Celebrate Like an Italian cookbook.

 

Poached Salmon Salad

  • Servings: 6 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Salmon

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 handful sprigs fresh dill
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon back peppercorns
  • 2 pounds center-cut salmon fillets

 

Salad

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking water
  • 2 bunches medium-thick asparagus, trimmed, and peeled (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
  • 1 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

 

Directions

  1. For the salmon, put 6 cups of water in a straight-sided skillet enough to hold the salmon in one layer. Season the water liberally with salt, and add wine, lemon slices, dill, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then slide the salmon into the simmering  water. Simmer gently for about another 10 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2.   For the salad, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the asparagus. Simmer till tender, abut 8 minutes. Drain, cool under cold water and pat dry. Spread the asparagus on a serving platter.
  3. In a food processor, combine the egg yolks, mustard, white wine, lemon juice, teaspoon of salt and the horseradish. Combine to thick paste and and drizzle in the olive with the machine is still on for a thick dressing.
  4. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the dressing over the asparagus. Flake the salmon in large chunks  into a large bowl. Chop the egg whites and add to the bowl along with the radishes and dill.  Season with the remaining salt. Drizzle with the rest of the dressing, toss well and serve over the asparagus.

 

 

 

Wasabi Grilled Tuna with Couscous

Another great seafood recipe from Fresh Fish by Jennifer Trainer Thompson! The wasabi sauce was so good that I spooned over the tuna. The couscous was a great side dish on a hot summer day.

 

Wasabi Grilled Tuna with Couscous

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 (6 to 8 ounces) excellent-quality tuna steaks, 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Wasabi Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder

Couscous

  • 1 cup whole-wheat Israeli couscous
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 scallion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon small capers
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Directions

  1. To prepare the couscous: Toast half the couscous in a dry skillet over medium heat. Bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot, stir in the couscous, cover and simmer over low heat until the stock is absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. Put the tomatoes, scallions, capers, and basil in a serving bowl. Stir in the couscous. Whisk the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl and pour over the couscous. Toss to combine.
  3. To prepare the sauce: Whisk the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, sesame oil, and the wasabi powder in a small bowl. Taste, and add more wasabi if desired.
  4. Lightly rub the tuna steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tuna on a very hot grill 1 to 2 minutes per side depending on preference. Should be pink or red in center.

 

 

Lemon Mojo

A very light and refreshing potato salad. The recipe can be easily doubled for summer barbecues. Six lemons seems like an awful lot but it requires that you peel and remove the white pith and then separate it from the membrane. Adapted from Rustic Spanish from Paul Richardson.

 

Lemon Mojo

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 lemons, plus thin slices for garnish
  • 2 green onions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • up to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook the till tender 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool and set aside.
  2. Peel the lemons, remove the yellow skin and white pith. Slice along each segment to free it from the surrounding membrane. Coarsely chop the lemon flesh and put into salad bowl. Add the potatoes, bell pepper, green onions, garlic, and parsley.
  3. Cut the eggs in half length-wise. Gently pop out the yolks and put them in a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil and pound to create a thick sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Finely chop the egg whites and add to the salad bowl. Pour the sauce over and using  wooden servers, toss carefully.  Garnish with thinly sliced lemons.