Tag Archive for Salad

Green salad with mackerel and quinoa

A celebration of green vegetables.

Green Salad

Green salad with mackerel and quinoa (serves 2)
Adapted from Allerhande

1 courgette, in chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed
200 g green asparagus, cleaned
150 g peas

1 ripe avocado
juice of 1 lime
50 ml yoghurt
10 g flat-leaf parsley
50 ml water
salt and pepper

quinoa cooked in bouillon
smoked mackerel

Stir-fry the courgette in the olive oil. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds longer.
Cook the asparagus and peas to your liking.
Blend the flesh of the avocado with the lime juice, yoghurt, parsley, water, salt and pepper to a smooth sauce.
Mix the vegetables with the sauce, serve immediately accompanied by quinoa and mackerel.

Dutch Food: Shrimp Cocktail

The Netherlands and the North Sea are famous for seafood specialities, namely mussels, shrimp and herring. Before I wrote about mussels and herring, and now I will write about the famous and delicious brown shrimp, caught in the North Sea. They are always small and brown in colour (hence the name). They are quite different from all the pink shrimp/prawns/scampi/etc;  they smell creamy and sweet, taste nutty and sweet, quite pronounced in comparison to pink shrimp, and they have a firm but tender texture.

Usually the shrimp are washed, boiled and cooled on board of the ship that caught them, so almost all shrimp you buy are cooked. Usually they are peeled as well, unfortunately this does takes some time, which isn’t beneficial for the taste of the shrimp. They also add preservatives that have an effect on the taste.  For the most delicious shrimp you get, you must purchase them directly from the ship or the fishing port, but finding a place that sells shrimp like this can be difficult. Brown shrimp are available through the whole year, but peak availability is in april/may and in autumn. Unfortunately, brown shrimp don’t have an MSC certificate yet, because some important information is not available (the effect of brown shrimp fishing on the ecosystem is being studied at the moment). They aren’t overfished, but there is a lot of by-catch. Fortunately, from a sustainability point of few it is considered acceptable to eat them once in a while. You can use them in hot or cold dishes, but when using in hot dishes, make sure to heat them only very shortly, otherwise they will get tough. The two best things you can make with them, in my opinion, are shrimp cocktail and shrimp croquettes. I’m a firm believer of not messing with the classics, that is why I give you a very classic recipe for shrimp cocktail. Delicious!

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail (serves 4)
Sweet Dutch prawns with a lovely, creamy sauce on a bed of lettuce.

200 g Dutch brown shrimp (peeled and cooked)
few leaves of lettuce (shredded or whole)
4 small lemon wedges (optional)
½ tbsp chopped parsley or a pinch of paprika powder

3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 drop tabasco
2 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
4 tbsp sherry or whisky
salt and pepper

Place lettuce on 4 small plates.
Top lettuce with shrimps.
Make the sauce by combining all ingredients (fold whipped cream in to keep it airy) and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Dollop sauce on top of prawns.
Garnish with lemon and a sprinkling of parsley or paprika powder.

Feta dip

A smooth, creamy and bold-flavoured dip that is very easy to make and keeps for days. It is perfect to use as a dip, either to take with you for snacking, or on parties. Eat it with all kinds of vegetables or bread and personalize it by adding flavourings (like herbs and spices) you like.

This dip also works great as a salad dressing (I used it for greek-ish chopped vegetables). I find that the downside of putting cubes of feta in a salad is that in some bites you have too much feta and in other bites you don’t have enough… I never seem to get them distributed evenly throughout the salad. Using the feta as a dressing is a great solution for that.

I do have a bit of a quirk, I like to use the Danish white salad cheese instead of real feta, because real feta tastes like sheep, and I don’t like the flavour of sheep in cheese (on the other hand, I do like goat’s cheese). Just use the one you like. I used low fat cream cheese without a problem.

Feta dip
Adapted from the Kitchn

100 gram feta, room temperature
50 g cream cheese, room temperature
a splash of milk
salt and pepper
Optional flavourings: zest and juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp chopped chives or flat leave parsley
Optional garnishes: olive oil, sumac, cayenne

Blitz the feta in a small food processor until it is in small pieces. Add the cream cheese and blend for about 5 minutes, adding the milk to make it a smooth mixture. Alternatively, mash the feta with a fork in a bowl, then add the cream cheese and mix very well with the fork (this will give you a slightly coarser result).
Taste the mixture and add salt (probably not needed) and pepper to taste. Mix in the flavourings you are using, then scoop the mixture in a serving bowl (or put it in an airtight container and keep in the fridge). Garnish and serve.

Fennel salad with orange

A delicious, simple and fresh salad, perfect for winter. Can be made some time in advance, as the fennel will only get tastier when marinated in the dressing. Instead of oranges you can use blood orange, grapefruit or even lemon, if you like sour. You do need a mandolin (slicing device) for this, with a knife it is nearly impossible to slice the fennel thin enough, and thick chunks of fennel are not nice. I only use a little olive oil in the dressing, because I find that salads like this tend to get very greasy otherwise.

Fennel Salad with orange

Fennel salad with orange (serves 2-3)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 medium fennel bulb
juice of 1 lemon
2 oranges
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Slice about 1/2 cm from the bottom of the fennel and discard. Remove fronds and discard, or keep for other use. Slice top of the stems and discard. Slice stems from bulb. Use a mandolin to shave the bulb and stems very thinly, taking care not to slice your fingers as well.
Place fennel in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and the lemon juice.
Slice bottom and top from oranges to stabilize them, then slice the peel and pith from the sides. Take the peeled orange and keep it above the bowl with the fennel, use a small sharp knife to slice the segments of orange from in between the membranes. Drop them on top of the fennel. When all the segments are removed, squeeze the remaining membranes to press all the juice from it onto the fennel. Add the olive oil, toss and check for seasoning. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a maximum of 1 day.

Lamb’s lettuce salad

A delicious salad with a sweet and fruity dressing. Also delicious with other lettuces than lamb’s lettuce. Perfect as a side salad with all kinds of meat: we had it with ribeye and potato chips.

Lamb’s lettuce salad (2 servings)

100 g lamb’s lettuce
1/2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
50 g parmesan cheese shavings
a handful of croutons

Mix raspberry vinegar and honey together, so that the honey dissolves in the vinegar. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to form a dressing. Mix with the lamb’s lettuce and divide over two small plates. Sprinkle with the parmesan and croutons. You can make the dressing in advance, it might separate a bit but you can bring it together by whisking it. Make sure you toss the lettuce with the dressing and add the parmesan and croutons just before serving, otherwise everything will get soggy.

Note: to make croutons, take a slice of bread (any kind, no problem if it is stale) and cut the crusts from it (keep to nibble on or dip in a soft boiled egg or to make breadcrumbs). Cut into cubes or tear into pieces. Heat some (olive) oil or butter on medium heat in a skillet, add the bread, toss frequently and fry until golden and crisp. Use immediately.

Lentil salad with butternut squash and feta

This spicy, hearty salad is perfect as warming meal on a cold autumn day, so it is perfect for the weather in the Netherlands at the moment. It is winter, but with all the rain, moderate temperatures and storm it seems autumn. It is a delicious, vegetarian main, but also delicious with a bit of fish, chicken or meat on the side (I served it with a little bit of fried salmon). You can eat it warm or cold, and it is sturdy enough to take the leftovers with you for lunch the next day.

Lentil Squash Salad

Lentil salad with butternut squash and feta (serves 3 persons as a main)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup black lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash (from about a 2-pound squash)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp pimenton de la vera dulce
1/2 tsp pimenton de la vera picante
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
salt and pepper
Optional: roasted seeds from your butternut squash

Preheat oven to 200C. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet or oven dish and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for another, until tender and browned.
Meanwhile, cook lentils in boiling water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes (taste them earlier, because the cooking time of lentils varies greatly).
Combine lentils, squash, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet, half of the feta, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired. Divide among plates and sprinkle with the remaining feta.

Note: to make this recipe truly vegetarian, make sure you use a feta (or similar white cheese) that is suitable for vegetarians (i.e. does not contain animal derived rennet).

Lentil-potato salad

I often have a texture issue with pulses. They often are very mealy and mushy and icky. Part of that can be remedied by using the right pulses. The only lentil that works for me in non-soup/dhal dishes (for which I prefer orange lentils) is the black beluga lentil, because it stays whole during cooking and doesn’t get all mushy and starchy. Some people claim the same of puy lentils, but I really didn’t like those, so I stick with these. The other part of the remedy is making the correct dish. A bowl of plain lentils is boring, it needs something extra. This salad succeeds in that brilliantly, the creamy potato and sharp and tangy dressing complement the lentils perfectly, making this a delicious dish.

The temperature of this salad is kind of in between. The original recipe calls it “warm” and makes sure to keep the potato and lentils warm, but I don’t think that is necessary. Just make sure that your lentils and potatoes and dressing are ready at about the same time, mix them together and serve immediately. Also at room temperature I think this salad is lovely. The only things that don’t work are hot, and fridge-cold.

This salad is a delicious side with about anything. We ate it with a piece of salmon fillet, but it would also be delicious with roast chicken, pork chops or sausage. As with most things, a fried or poached egg on top is delicious; or chop some hard boiled eggs and stir them through, making it a stand-alone dish. It is also delicious as lunch, in that case store the dressing separate from the rest to prevent sogginess and making it possible to reheat the lentils and potato. It should keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

Lentil-Potato Salad (serves 4-6)
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 large shallot, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed then halved
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry black lentils
salt and pepper

500 g baby potatoes, halved

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons sour gherkins, chopped
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper

Cook lentils. Pick over and rinse lentils. Place them in a small/medium pan with the halved shallot, crushed garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, some salt, some pepper and 4 cups of water. Simmer the lentils over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until firm-tender. Check earlier than that, because some lentils cook faster than others. Drain and discard shallot, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
Meanwhile, cook potatoes. In a separate pan, cover potatoes with 3 cm cold water. Set timer for 15 minutes, then bring potatoes to a simmer. When the timer rings, they should be easily pierced with a toothpick or knife. Again, check earlier than the 15 minutes, because different kinds of potatoes cook faster than others. Drain.
Make the dressing. Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped gherkin and parsley.
Assemble salad. Place potatoes in serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Carrots are a real winter ingredient, they are abundant and cheap right now (although you can get them the whole year, and they are an environmentally friendly choice the whole year as well). Usually I prepare them quite plain, but sometimes I want something else. This salad is perfect for that. It is hearty, comforting and warming, and it is delicious.
It is a lovely side dish for simple meals, for example some rice and a piece of fish or chicken. Because it has all the spices, it can clash with other strong flavoured dishes, or overpower delicate flavours, so keep that in mind when matching it with other dishes. I served it with bulghur cooked in stock, sweet potato with ras el hanout, dried apricots, roasted almonds and feta.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

Moroccan Carrot Salad (serves 4)
Slightly adapted from “Plenty – Yotam Ottolenghi”

900 g carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium green chiles, finely chopped (use less when you want it less spicy)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped preserved lemon
bunch of parsley or coriander, chopped
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt

Peel the carrots and cut them in cylinders of about 1 cm thick (if you have large carrots make them half moons). Place in a pan and add water and salt. Place on the heat and boil until the carrots are tender, but still have a bit of a crunch.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and golden. Add garlic and chiles, fry for a few minutes. Add all the spices, fry for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Add carrots, sugar, white wine vinegar, preserved lemon and salt, mix well. Leave to cool; the salad is tastiest at room temperature. At this stage you can place the salad in the fridge for about 1 day, take it out and let it come to room temperature before the final step.
Before serving, stir in the parsley or coriander and yoghurt (you can also dollop the yoghurt on top instead of mixing it through) and serve.

Kohlrabi remoulade

Kohlrabi is a vegetable that most people overlook because they don’t know what to do with it. I was one of these people till recently… I got curious and bought one to experiment with. And actually, it is a very nice vegetable. It is often served braised, but I prefer to use it raw, because it has an incredible fresh, juicy but still firm and crunchy texture and a slightly cabbagy taste that is great in salads. It also keeps quite well in the fridge, so you can use it part by part instead of having to finish the whole thing at once.
Traditionally a remoulade (French dish, not to be confused with remoulade sauce) is made with celeriac, but it also works with kohlrabi very well. The creamy, mustardy flavour of the dressing complements the taste of the kohlrabi perfectly. The apple and raisins give the salad a lovely sweet accent, but you can leave them out if you prefer. You can also use pineapple instead of apple.

Kohlrabi remoulade (2 generous servings)

1/2 large kohlrabi
1 apple
4 tbsp raisins, soaked
3 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp coarse mustard
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped chives
Optional: some toasted walnuts

Cut the top and the bottom from the kohlrabi with a large knife. Peel the outside quite thickly, because the flesh directly under the peel can be quite woody. Quarter the kohlrabi to obtain manageable chunks. Slice these thinly, and slice the slices thinly as well, to obtain julienne. Or use a mandolin with a small julienne slicer.
Make the sauce by mixing mayonnaise, both mustards, chives and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the kohlrabi through the sauce (using a fork is easiest). Add the apple, raisins and walnuts if using and mix again. Serve immediately. You can make the salad a bit in advance, but the liquid from the kohlrabi will thin the dressing a lot.

Potato salad with chicken and celery

A lighter, but still delicious alternative for potato salad with bacon and egg. Perfect as side dish for a BBQ, delicious at picnics and potlucks, but also perfect as a complete meal or for lunch.

Potato salad with chicken and celery (serves 2, or 4-6 as a side)

1 chicken breast
500 g small potatoes, cut in halve (cut larger ones in chuncks)
3 large gherkins, in cubes
2 sticks of celery, in cubes
1 apple, in cubes
4 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
1 tbsp gherkin juice (coming from the gherkin jar)
1/2-1 tsp mustard (amount depends on how strong your mustard is)

Poach or grill the chicken breast. Cut into cubes.
Place the potatoes in a pan, cover with water, season with some salt. Bring to the boil and cook until tender (check by pricking a potato with a pointy knife: if there is resistance, the potatoes are not cooked; if it slides in they are cooked).
Make the sauce by combining the mayonnaise, gherkin juice and mustard. Season strongly with salt and pepper, as all the ingredients in the salad will have only a thin coating of this dressing.
Mix the chicken, potatoes, gherkins, celery, apple and sauce carefully. Because the potatoes are still a little warm, they will soak up some of the sauce and will give the salad a lukewarm serving temperature. Some people like the salad fridge-cold, but this will go at the cost of taste.