Friday, May 17, 2013

Whole Foods Feasting: A Tale of Two Salads

When I was growing up, salad meant greens -usually iceberg lettuce - and salad dressing. Salad was something that was eaten before dinner. It sure wasn't something that was eaten as a meal.

Okay, maybe there was the occasional tuna salad. But even though "salad" was in the name, it wasn't something eaten like salad. It was a sandwich filling.

Now, salad in my life has broken out of its mold, It can still be a starter, but it's just as likely to be a side dish or a meal. In summer, a nice light chilled salad is particularly welcome for lunch. And a hearty - but chilled - chicken salad makes a great salad nestled in a lettuce cup, or it makes a great sandwich filling.

The chicken salad is a great way to make use of leftovers, too.

The Chicken and the Egg Salad

1 chicken breast, cooked and chilled
1 chicken thigh, cooked and chilled
2 celery stalks, diced
2 radishes, diced
2 mini sweet peppers, cored and diced
2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
A few grates of nutmeg

Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, and cut into a medium dice and add it to a medium bowl.

Add the celery, radishes, peppers, eggs, capers. salt, pepper, mustard, , yogurt, mayonnaise, paprika, and nutmeg.

Stir gently to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed.

 Serve in lettuce cups (garnish with extra paprika, if desired) or use as a sandwich filling.

Shrimp Salad 

This salad makes a nice appetizer with just a few shrimp, or it can be a full meal with more shrimp - it's your choice. The greens are dressed with a fruity dressing, with an additional avocado sauce for the shrimp. Any extra avocado sauce is a great dip for chips, or you can thin it with milk or buttermilk and use it as a salad dressing.

You could use regular bell peppers for this salad, but the mini peppers make nice, small rings that look pretty in the salad.

Shrimp Salad with Avocado Sauce

For the salad:
1 head romaine heart
1 small zucchini
1 radish
3 mini sweet peppers
1 tablespoon raspberry or mango vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, cleaned, and chilled

For the avocado sauce:
1 cup mashed avocado
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of chipotle powder

Tear the romaine into bite-sized pieces and add it to a medium bowl. Cut the zucchini in half horizonally, then slice into thin rounds and add them to the bowl. Slice the radishes into thin rounds and add them to the bowl. Core and seed the peppers, slice them into thin rings, and add them to the bowl.

Combine the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and sugar in a small jar with a lid. Shake the jar to combine and emulsify the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the avocado, yogurt, lime juice, salt, and chipotle powder. Stir well.

Arrange the greens on a plate, dollop the as much of the avocado as you like in the center, then arrange the shrimp on top. Serve chilled.

Refrigerate the remaining avocado sauce. Unlike guacamole, this doesn't turn brown quickly, so it will last at least several days in the refrigerator.

For information about Whole Foods, see the tab at the top.