Summer is the heart of salad season, but why settle for romaine with bottled whatever when you can elevate the salad course to new and dazzling heights? That's the idea behind Mindy Fox's new cookbook, Salads: Beyond the Bowl (Kyle Books, $19.95, 175 pages). The noted food writer and editor of La Cucina Italiana magazine has assembled a volume of tempting, seasonal dishes that push the salad envelope.
Think wild arugula, summer squash, and asparagus salad, topped with a fried egg, or freekeh with favas. (Yes, we had to look up freekeh. too. It's a smoky, nutty Middle Eastern grain available at specialty markets.) A tomato salad with smoked mozzarella and lemon rind offers a twist on the typical Caprese, while a stunning purple potato salad will add a twist to any picnic spread.
And an entire chapter is devoted to entree-worthy ideas, such as a salad of lentils, grilled radicchio, and chorizo.
The recipes are creative, clever, and easy to follow, and the photographs will send you rushing to the farmers market for ingredients. Here's just a taste:
Note: This unusual salad works well as a starter, side dish, or condiment for lamb chops.
3 cups blueberries
1 cup mint leaves, large leaves torn
5 ounces feta, crumbled
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Flaky coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
Divide the blueberries among small shallow serving bowls. Sprinkle with mint and feta. Drizzle oil over each serving. Crush several generous pinches of salt over the salads, and sprinkle with pepper.
-- Salads: Beyond the Bowl