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Martha's Salads with Alice

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive
Recipe Category: Salad
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
    Salads with Alice

    The fine art of salad making should not be underestimated. Attention to the quality and variety of ingredients is just the first step. Choosing the right dressing is just as important. To create a memorable salad, one must know how to balance tart with sweet ingredients, how to incorporate fruits with vegetables, how to blend leafy greens with nuts or berries. Whether piled vertically or served in a low dish, whether presented as a side dish or offered as an entrée, a salad sets the tone for the meal.

    Chef Alice Waters, owner of the famous Berkeley, California, restaurant Chez Panisse, creates some of the most innovative salads in the country; each is characterized by an unusual combination of ingredients and special attention to color. Alice visits Martha and shares recipes for two of her salads: one with persimmons and apples, and one with grapefruit sections and avocado.

    Avocado & Grapefruit Salad
    Serves 4

    1 small shallot, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon orange juice
    Coarse salt
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
    1/4 teaspoon orange zest
    2 grapefruits, peeled and segmented
    3 Haas avocados, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
    Chervil sprigs, for garnish

    1. In a small bowl, combine shallot, vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, and a pinch of salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. Whisk in oil, lemon zest, and orange zest.

    2. Arrange grapefruit and avocado on a serving platter. Drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with chervil.

    Curly Endive, Persimmon, & Apple Salad
    Serves 4

    1 shallot, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, more if necessary
    Splash of sherry vinegar
    Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
    4 ripe Fuyu persimmons
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    4 small heads curly endive, tender inside leaves only, washed well and spun dry
    1 medium tart apple, quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced

    1. In a salad bowl, combine shallot, red-wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

    2. Peel and slice persimmons into 1/4-inch wedges. Whisk olive oil into the shallot and vinegar, and taste for acidity, adjusting as necessary. Add persimmon slices to bowl with vinegar, lightly season with salt and pepper, and toss. Add endive and apples. Season with salt and pepper, and gently toss to combine. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Bagna Cauda

    Centuries ago, on cold mornings in the Piedmont region of Italy, vineyard workers would take a break from their labor, gather dried vine cuttings together as fuel for a fire, and heat up a sauce of olive oil, garlic, and anchovies. The result, bagna cauda (or "hot bath"), is a dipping sauce that's perfect for breadsticks or such vegetables as cauliflower, turnips, celery hearts, radishes, and carrots. This version of bagna cauda is from chef Alice Waters, owner of the Berkeley, California, restaurants Chez Panisse, Chez Panisse Café, and Café Fanny. When assembling the bagna cauda, be sure to buy the freshest, best-quality vegetables and anchovies available, and keep the cooking temperature low to prevent the oil from burning and the anchovies from hardening.

    Bagna Cauda
    Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    10 to 12 salt-packed anchovies
    6 cloves garlic
    Coarse salt and pepper
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    A few drops red-wine vinegar
    Zest of half a lemon (optional)
    Assorted raw vegetables

    1. Under cold running water, rinse the anchovies. Blot dry, and remove all bones. In a mortar with the pestle, pound the garlic to a paste with a little salt and pepper. Add anchovies, and pound until roughly mashed.

    2. In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add half the anchovy mixture, red-wine vinegar, and lemon zest. Gently simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining anchovy mixture. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Transfer sauce to a warmed bowl or individual ramekins. Serve with assorted raw vegetables.

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