Monday, April 30, 2012

An artful salad

You've heard of sand art. This isn't that. Sand art would be gritty and wouldn't taste very good. This is edible art. Salad art.

Even my husband, who normally doesn't shy away from diving fork-first into my nicely-presented dinners said that this salad was almost too pretty to destroy.

"It's okay - I have pict-"

It lasted about that long.

I eat salads a lot - particularly in summer when fresh vegetables look lively. Most of the time, they're pretty simple. But this salad was created for the OXO Slice It Up Recipe Contest, so I got a lot more creative. Most of the cuts were made with a V-slicer mandoline, which is a pretty cool tool for making even slices. And thin slices, too. And waffle cuts. And julienne slices.

Nice to have one tool that does all of that.

When it comes to arrangement, that's really up to you. Make neat circles or spirals or geometric patterns. Or go with randomness. It doesn't matter, as long as it looks good to you. And if you've got pretty colors and fresh vegetables, It's going to look good.

Salad as Art

3 stalks asparagus
1 radish
1 small yellow squash
1 large yellow cauliflower floret
1 small zucchini
1/2 English cucumber
1 thin slice sweet onion
3 chive flowers
Pinch of salt (this is the time to use a fancy salt, if you have one)
Lemon Olive Oil
Sherry or wine vinegar

Prepare all the vegetables before you begin arranging.

Slice the asparagus into thin vertical strips. Cut the radish into thin rounds. Cut thin slices off the cauliflower floret to create crumbles of cauliflower. Stop when you get to the thick stem part

Cut an angled slice off one end of the yellow squash, then continue slicing on that angle so you end up with oval slices.

Use the julienne blade to cut thin strips from all around the zucchini so you end up with dark green julienned strips. You can cut the rest of the zucchini into slices, if you prefer. I used it for other purposes.

Peel the cucumber. Slice the cucumber into waffle slices. If you slice it thinly and turn the zucchini 45 degrees with each cut, you'll end up with lacy slices rather than wavy ones.

Divide the onion slice into rings.

Arrange the vegetables on a platter in any design you want, reserving the cauliflower crumbles and the zucchini strips for use as garnish.

Sprinkle the salt over the top (I used a red salt) then drizzle with oil and vinegar. This salad doesn't need a lot of dressing - just a light drizzle here and there. Pull the petals off the chive flowers and strew them over the top. Serve.