Weekly Salad 12: Escarole and Boudin Blanc




Escarole is one of my favorite greens. I like the pale, yellow center leaves that are surrounded by lush green outer leaves. I’m not sure why, but it seems escarole does not enjoy quite the same popularity here in the States as in Europe. There, it makes its way to the table in numerous ways. You can often find it tossed into salads with other slightly bitter greens like endive, frisée and radicchio; gently braised with butter or olive oil; or cooked with beans in a soup, both allowing its slight bitterness to mellow out. And so, you’re left with a delicate green that has the sweetness of ice berg lettuce but the texture of young napa cabbage.
    To make this salad, pan-sear and cook the boudin blanc (I used German weisswurst – a similar type of sausage from Alexander Hornung). Slice the sausage and toss with escarole and toasted pine nuts. Serve with a red wine vinaigrette that is heavy on dijon mustard.


    Bon appétit!


    Weekly Salad 11: Sauté of Watercress with Apple and Bacon




    I like to order sautéed watercress or pea shoots at Chinese restaurants. When properly cooked, they seem to taste sweeter and so palatable that I can easily eat one or two bundles of watercress in one sitting. Would that keep me regular? Whatever. Today’s salad is a quickie with watercress that is quickly sautéed [I bruised a whole garlic clove and added it to the oil – and removed it after cooking it along with the watercress] and served with crispy bacon and fresh apple slices. A strong, mustardy vinaigrette was delicious drizzled over the salad. Dare I say that it’s also low carb?


    Bon appétit!


    Weekly Salad 10: Pan-Seared Baby Octopus with Meyer Lemon Tempura




    Goodness, is it Wednesday already? With Easter just around the corner, I’ve been busy getting things together (i.e., vacuuming the house — for once and doing *gasp* laundry) and have become rather delinquent with these weekly salads. Here’s a salad that is full of bright, seasonal flavors. It’s not exactly a diet salad, but in these parts, fried goodness is allowed and encouraged every once in a while.

    Recently, Jim M. commented on my post on Moules Marinière and mentioned having tried Meyer lemons as part of a seafood tempura dish at Highlands in Birmingham, Michigan. I have yet to make it out to Birmingham to try out the restaurant but I’ve been itchin’ to try that meyer lemon tempura. So, I made them recently and added them to a salad of red leaf and pan-seared baby octopus. After thinly slicing the meyer lemons, I coated them with cornstarch (and lightly shook them to remove excess cornstarch) before dipping them into the tempura batter. The recipe for that can be found here. I served the salad with a quick dressing of [1 part meyer lemon juice + 3 parts olive oil + S&P]. The meyer lemon tempura added a nice, crispy and refreshing contrast to the salad. I would suggest serving one lemon tempura for each salad.




    Bon appétit!



    Weekly Salads 8 and 9: Fava Beans with Pecorino and Parsley / Sugar Snap Peas with Tangelo




    I complain/gripe/rant about Michigan a LOT. Pierre simply tunes me out most days. When I tell him that it was well over 75F the other day in Huntington Beach, I get little more than a shrug. Well, I’ve got two words for him – Flip Flops. They are awesome and I wore them until the plane landed in Detroit. Now, I’m typing this looking like Asian Southpark wearing a snow cap, two sweaters and sweatpants. Yes, pity, pity me. At least I mustered enough energy to make two salads (since I missed last week’s because there is little coverage in the snow stormed area of the Grand Canyon).
      The first salad is made with fresh fava beans that I found at ZZ Produce in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At this rather unassuming store, (okay, let’s be honest — little shack) one can find fresh fava beans, yucca, tamarind, Ya Li Pears, opo squash, okra, culantro (saw tooth herb) and so many other fruits and vegetables. Inside, I saw local Latino, Asian and Middle Eastern folks waiting in line to purchase their goods. I think it’s great to see such a diverse group of people in one small store that does little or no advertising save for a somewhat dilapidated sign near the front of the store.
        After preparing the fava beans for this salad, I’ve come to view the task of shucking and shelling them as fun as listening to K-Fed sing and having my appendix removed AT THE SAME TIME. But was it worth it? I’m supposed to say yes, and I will. Pretty darn good is my estimation. I love all sheep’s milk cheeses and pecorino is always lovely. I think fresh mint would also be nice here. Some recipes suggest leaving the beans raw but I decided to warm them in some roasted garlic oil before tossing with the pecorino, flat leaf parsley and fleur de sel.







        I know people who dislike green beans but love sugar snap peas. I don’t associate with such misguided people normally, but I’m willing to extend a branch of friendship with this salad. Sugar snap peas are finally coming into season and this is a simple salad with quickly-sauteéd peas, sliced minneola tangelos and toasted almonds. Serve with a dijon vinaigrette [dijon + 3 parts olive oil + 1 part red wine vinegar+ S&P].

        Check out these other posts/articles:

        Fava Beans: A Little Spring on Your Plate from NPR’s Kitchen Window

        Fava Bean Bruschetta at Vegalicious

        Bon appétit!



        Weekly Salad 7: Arugula, Ya Li Pear and Blue Cheese




        I discovered Ya Li pears (aka Yali pears) a few years ago and I always look forward to their season. I purchased some fresh arugula from the Huntington Beach Farmers Market and made a salad combining it with the pears. Ya Li pears are exremely sweet and juicy, much like the round, flatter and slightly brown skinned Asian pears. What I like about these pears is that I don’t feel I have to peel its delicate and thin skin. Pear and blue cheese are a great combination and the arugula adds a nice peppery contrast.

        The arugula I bought tasted quite agressive as it is not as young and tender as I would have liked to use for a raw salad so slightly wilting it in a hot pan with oil (for about 30 seconds) helped to take the edge off of. Any good blue cheese will do. However, I am partial to the one made by Maytag. Add some toasted pecans or walnuts for extra oomph.

        Bon appétit!


        Weekly Salad 6: Bò Lúc Lắc – Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Watercress




        There are a lot of fantastic versions for this dish. At restaurants, they will sometimes serve this with crispy fried potatoes or rice. I often make this just as a salad with no rice or potatoes. It’s quick and easy dish that I can put together for a weeknight meal. Sometimes, I’ll quickly pickle the shallots in vinegar and sugar before topping the final dish. Here, I’ve added them to the stir-fry. I use tomatoes whenever they’re in season. Watercress is great this time of year, so I find myself making this dish quite often.



        INGREDIENTS: (4 servings)

        For the beef marinade:

        • 1 lb. (~454 g) beef sirloin, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
        • 2 tsp. (10 ml) fish sauce
        • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce
        • 1 teaspoons (5 ml) soy sauce
        • 1 tablespoon 2 tsp. (10 g) raw sugar
        • 2-3 small cloves garlic, mince

        For the salad:

        • 1 Tbl. vegetable oil
        • 1-2 bundles of watercress, torn into approx. 1.5 inch (~4cm) sprigs
        • 3 med-large shallots, thinly sliced
        • 2-3 tomatoes (quartered) [when in season]
        • fresh cracked pepper


        • Wash, dry and prepare the watercress. Set aside.
        • Mix all the ingredients for the beef marinade and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes. Add the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the beef (along with marinade ingredients) and quickly stir-fry [shaking] it until seared on the edges, about 2 to 3 minutes.
        • When the beef is done, add the shallots, quickly tossing them to combine and turn off the heat.
        • To plate, arrange the watercress on the plate and top with the beef [and then the tomatoes]. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over the entire dish. Serve warm.


        Bon appétit!


        Weekly Salad 5: Shaved Celery with Gruyère




        I love the flavor of celery and I thought it would be nice to make a salad that was similar to one I had recently which featured raw, shaved fennel. I add a few leaves of Chinese celery for a contrast in color as well as flavor.  Chinese celery’s sharp, assertive flavor is a nice contrast to the delicate celery and the gruyère adds a nice richness and nuttiness to the entire dish. I think flat-leaf parsley would also be good here. I might try it with some sliced kumquats next time.  

        The celery is first peeled using a vegetable peeler (this helps to keep it from being too stringy when eating) before it is cut into paper-thin slices . Serve with a simple dressing of red wine vinegar/lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil [ + S&P].  

        Bon appétit!



        Weekly Salad 4: Chicken with Poached Egg



        I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I make roast chicken EVERY week. This is because Pierre thinks if he doesn’t eat his poulet rôti regularly He. Will. Die. I’m not complaining because I do love making it and eating it as well. Although Pierre will not agree, I find it’s rather boring after a while. I always have left over chicken in the fridge and I try my best to find good, different ways to use the left over meat. I mean, a little *diversity* once in a while can’t hurt, right? Speaking of which, will Hillary prevail tomorrow?

        Anyway, this is a simple salad that I make with leftover chicken. It has Bibb/butter lettuce with grated carrots and a poached egg . It’s great color-wise, texture-wise and it takes little time to prepare. Serve with a vinaigrette of [1 part wine vinegar + 3 parts olive oil + finely minced shallot + dijon mustard + S&P].


        Bon appétit!