Grilled Calamari and Prawn Thai Salad

Calamari Salad

Mastering Seafood

I’ve just started to teach a cooking class for adults called ‘Mastering Seafood’ and this is one of the dishes I taught in the first class. It’s an easy dish but it let’s you brush up on your technique of how to cut open a calamari (squid) tube, score it and fry it lightly on the stove top.

When you cook with calamari, you can buy a ‘tube’ that has already been cleaned or you can ‘go for broke’ and clean one yourself, slicing off the head, removing the ‘beak’ and cleaning out the innards, etc. I showed the class how to do both techniques but I believe most people would prefer to buy an already-cleaned calamari.

This recipe oozes with flavours: the prawns and calamari are first marinated in a chili, garlic and ginger marinade; then lightly sautéed on the stovetop. They are then layered on top of salad greens that are mixed with some mint and basil; avocado slices and  toasted sesame seeds and peanuts are also featured in this dish.

I also showed the class how to bake a whole Snapper and how to make Crab Bisque (see my previous post ‘Crab Bisque and my blog 1-year anniversary’ for the recipe). I’ll be featuring some more recipes from my ‘Mastering Seafood’ class, so please stay tuned!

(P.S. When I sat down to eat this dish for my dinner, the whole plate fell face down onto the floor- prawns, calamari and everything went ‘splat.’ I remembered something about a ‘5-second rule’ and scooped everything up. It was still delicious! I guess even culinary teachers make mistakes).

 P.S. Would LOVE it if you’d Like my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page!

Calamari and Prawn Thai Salad
Serves 4
Delicious prawns and calamari marinated in a garlic, ginger and chili sauce; served on a bed on mixed greens with Thai flavors
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Ingredients
  1. 2 calamari tubes, cleaned
  2. 12 raw prawns or shrimp
For the Ginger and Chilli Marinade
  1. ½ fresh red chilli- chopped finely
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 1 tbsp fresh peeled ginger, chopped
  4. 25 ml olive oil
  5. 25 ml vegetable oil
  6. Salt to taste
For the Salad Dressing
  1. 30ml lime juice
  2. 30ml rice wine vinegar
  3. 30ml fish sauce
  4. 30g palm sugar
For the Thai Salad Greens
  1. Salad Greens to serve 4
  2. Coriander
  3. Thai basil (or ‘regular’ basil)
  4. Mint leaves
  5. 1 spring onion, sliced lengthwise in 3 cm strips
  6. Bean shoots
  7. 1 avocado
  8. 20g toasted peanuts, diced finely
  9. 20g sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. To make the marinade, finely chop the chilli, ginger and garlic, then lightly sauté the mixture in a little olive oil on the stovetop for about one minute. Transfer to a food processor bowl and purée with the olive and vegetable oils until smooth.
  2. Cut through one side of a calamari tube, open it out and score the inside of the flesh using a diagonal criss-cross pattern (spacing the cuts about 2 mm apart). Peel and de-vein the prawns, leaving tail on. Add the prawns and calamari to the marinade and let set for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Dry roast (at 180 C) the sesame seeds and peanuts until golden brown- about 5-6 minutes.
  4. To make the dressing, combine the palm sugar, vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce in a small saucepan. Over medium high heat, whisk the ingredients until the sugar dissolves, continue to whisk, then reduce the heat and let the mixture reduce until it thickens a little. Let cool.
  5. Pan-fry the prawns and calamari in a little oil and butter, turning to cook on both sides. Only cook for a few minutes to avoid over-cooking.
  6. To prepare the salad, cut spring onion into 3cm batons and slice lengthways; add to salad greens along with some mint, basil and coriander and toss with about 3-4 tbsp. of the salad dressing (careful not to add too much dressing).
  7. To plate, add a bed of the tossed greens on a plate, add a few bean shoots on top, then several avocado slices. Arrange some calamari slices and prawns on top, sprinkle with some of the toasted sesame seeds and peanuts, then add a few more greens on top.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Persimmon and prosciutto salad with walnut dressing

 

Salad 4Have you ever asked yourself, “Should I first peel the persimmon before eating it?” Well, the answer is NO, which luckily for us, makes it so much easier to eat! And presenting this salad at your table is even more fun since it keeps your family and friends guessing what those colourful orange balls are.

For my recipe, I used Fuyu persimmons, which are short, crisp and sweet and ideal for using in salads. For added presentation, I’ve sliced my persimmons very thinly using a mandoline slicer.

 Fuyu Persimmons

Salad Fuyu

 

 When I presented this salad to my brother-in-law (visiting from Baltimore), he said, “Hmm, these persimmons have a nice mild flavour with a touch of je ne sais quoi.” My words exactly!

This recipe makes a nice summer salad and also could be a meal in itself. The dressing has a nice creamy fruity flavour that works well with the rest of the ingredients.

Persimmon Salad

 

Persimmon and Prosciutto Salad with Walnut Dressing
Yields 6
A light fruity salad with a creamy walnut dressing.
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For the Walnut Dressing
  1. 1 small garlic clove, diced
  2. 2 tbsp. walnut oil
  3. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  4. 1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/4 cup (60 ml) thin cream
  6. salt/pepper to taste
For the salad
  1. 3 ripe persimmons, sliced thinly
  2. 12 thin slices prosciutto
  3. 3 - 4 cups of green salad mixture (butter lettuce, rocket leaves, baby spinach, etc)
  4. 60 g walnut halves, roughly chopped
  5. 1 cup (80 g) shaved parmesan
  6. salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. To make the dressing, add the diced garlic, walnut oil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a food processor bowl and process until smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the cream until the mixture is smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the salad, slice the persimmons thinly widthways using a mandolin slicer. Tear the prosciutto roughly into pieces and roughly chop the walnuts.
  3. To assemble the salad, arrange the salad greens on a plate, top with the persimmon slices, walnuts and parmesan shavings. Drizzle with the dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Leanne Kitchen from Taste.com.au
Adapted from Leanne Kitchen from Taste.com.au
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

Shane Delia’s Smoked Turkish Salad with Halvah and Macadamias

 

Smoked Turkish Salad (3 of 3) (1 of 1)

I’ve never smoked so much in my life – the good kind of smoking, that is! I recently attended Shane Delia’s ‘Smoking in the Kitchen’ master class at Adelaide’s Tasting Australia event. Shane taught us how to make a Smoked Turkish Salad with halvah and smoked macadamia nuts. Halvah means ‘sweet’ in Arabic and is made from sesame flour and honey. Halvah is very sweet, indeed, but if you use it sparingly, it provides a wonderful contrast to the other flavors in this recipe. The crowning touch is the Turkish Black Chilli sprinkled on top of the salad, giving it a gentle fruity, peppery flavour.

Shane is the chef/owner of the restaurant Maha in Melbourne, renowned for its modern Middle Eastern cuisine. He was also the host of his own TV show called Spice Journey, which led his viewers on a delightful culinary journey through the Middle East, including Lebanon and Iran.

Shane and Me

Shane and Me

 First, Shane taught us how to smoke the macadamia nuts, Turkish bread and salt flakes using a smoking box filled with smoking wood chips or saw dust (I used hickory saw dust for my salad). To add further flavor, I added some sage leaves on top of the saw dust. (Note: you can buy the smoking box and saw dust at Barbeque specialty stores, such as Barbeques Galore in Australia and the USA).

 Smoking Box cropped

Next, place the smoking box directly on top of the stove top (glass top stoves are easiest, but you could also use gas or electric grill stoves). After several minutes, ribbons of smoke will start to rise from the smoking box- wait another 3 – 5 minutes until smoke really starts to billow.

Then, place the smoking box inside a pan large enough to hold your macadamia nuts, salt flakes and Turkish bread. Immediately cover the whole pan with aluminum foil and wait at least 15 minutes until all ingredients have been smoked. (I recommend taking the pan outdoors while it smokes).

Smoking Box in Pan

Next step is to coarsely grind the macadamia nuts with mortar and pestle. Sauté two  shallots in a pan with some butter, add 40 ml red wine vinegar to the pan, along with the crushed macadamia nuts and some fresh torn sage leaves. Simmer for several minutes.

Now you’re ready to assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add enough salad greens to serve four people. Add 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to lightly coat the salad mixture. Now add the shallot/macadamia nut mixture from the pan, some ham pieces (I used torn Serrano ham), small pieces of the smoked Turkish bread and a little bit of crushed halvah.

Finally, cap the salad with a poached egg and sprinkle the smoked salt flakes on top of the egg, along with some Turkish Black Chilli. This is a wonderful substitute for pepper- it has a gentle heat, a slightly fruity flavour with some chocolate undertones. If you can’t find this chilli, then you can substitute fresh ground black pepper. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature.

Note: you can buy Turkish Black Chilli online from Maharestaurant.com.au or Spicetrekkers.com.

Turkish Black Chilli

Turkish Black Chilli

 Smoked Turkish Salad (2 of 2) (1 of 1)

 

Smoked Turkish Salad with Halvah and Macadamias
Serves 4
A delicious Middle Eastern salad with smoked macadamias and halvah
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For the Smoking Box
  1. Wood chips or saw dust for smoking
  2. Sage Leaves (optional)
  3. Salt flakes placed in small container
  4. 100 grams Macadamia nuts placed in small container
  5. Slab of Turkish Bread
For the Skillet
  1. 1 tbsp. butter
  2. 2 shallots, finely chopped
  3. Ground macadamia nuts (smoked)
  4. 40 ml red wine vinegar
  5. Several torn sage leaves
For the Salad
  1. Mixture of Salad Greens to Serve 4
  2. 2 - 3 tbsp. olive oil
  3. Serrano ham pieces (or other ham)
  4. Small amount of crushed Halvah
  5. Smoked Turkish bread pieces
  6. Shallot/Macadamia mixture from pan
  7. Salt flakes and Turkish Black Chilli
  8. Poached Eggs
To smoke the ingredients
  1. Fill the smoking box 1/2 full with either wood chips or saw dust. Refer to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Add some torn Sage leaves on top (or orange or apple peel) for additional flavors.
  2. Place the smoking box directly on top of the stove burner. Wait for several minutes until the mixture starts to smoke, letting it smoke for an additional 3 - 4 minutes. Remove from heat using an oven mit.
  3. Place the smoking box inside large pan holding the macadamia nuts, salt flakes and slab of Turkish bread. Immediately cover the entire pan with foil and let smoke for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Remove macadamia nuts from pan and coarsely crush using mortar and pestle.
For the Skillet
  1. Over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. butter to pan. Gently sauté the diced shallots, then add the crushed macadamia nuts, red wine vinegar and several freshly torn sage leaves. Let simmer for several minutes.
To assemble the salad
  1. Add salad greens to a large bowl, enough to serve four
  2. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the salad greens (2-3 tbsp.)
  3. To the salad, add some ham pieces, a small amount of crushed halvah to taste and the shallot/macadamia mixture from the pan. Break the Turkish bread into small pieces and add that to the salad.
  4. Serve the salad into 4 separate bowls. Add a poached egg on top of each serve. Garnish with the smoked salt flakes and some Turkish Black Chilli or freshly ground pepper.
  5. Salad can be served warm or room temperature.
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

5 Salads in 5 Days: Pizza with Lemon-marinated Sashimi Tuna Slices

Pizza Salad 3 This is the last day of my series ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ where I have posted 5 different salads over 5 consecutive days. I must say that I have lots of salads backed up in my fridge – enough to last for one week!

My previous 4 salads were Warms Goat’s Cheese Salad, Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad, Sweet Potato and Fig Salad with Balsamic Glaze and Salmon Salad with Avocado and Shrimp.

Today’s post is Pizza with Lemon-marinated Sashimi Tuna Slices. Do I hear you ask, “Is that a pizza or a salad?”   Well, this dish can be both! Place some pizza slices on a platter or cutting board with some salad greens, and you can have your cake (I mean pizza) and eat it too!

This pizza is topped with olives, slow-cooked onions and delicious marinated sashimi tuna slices. Grab a piece while you can and don’t forget the salad greens!

Pizza Salad 2

5.0 from 2 reviews
5 Salads in 5 Days: Pizza Salad with Sashimi Tuna Slices
Serves: 4
 
Part pizza and part salad, you'll love the lemon- marinated sashimi nestled on top of a pizza base covered in soft onions and a few sardines.
Ingredients
  • For the Pizza:
  • 10 g dry yeast
  • 60 g warm water
  • 200 g flour
  • 5 g salt
  • 5 g sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • about 20 black olives, pitted and sliced in half
  • small jar of anchovies (optional)
  • For the lemon vinaigrette marinade:
  • 50 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml peanut or vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • For the garnish:
  • ~ 300 g of sashimi grade tuna, sliced thinly
  • Mixed salad greens, including some water cress
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 C (380 F).
  2. Prepare the pizza base: dissolve the yeast in 60 ml of warm water. Add flour to a mixing bowl, add the salt, sugar, egg and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture and stir until smooth.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the benchtop, knead several times and form into a ball using your hands. Place dough back into mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for at least 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the lemon vinaigrette: combine the lemon juice, oils, Dijon mustard and salt/pepper. Slice the sashimi-grade raw tuna into thin slices and marinate in the vinaigrette for at least 15 minutes. Now cook the sliced onions in 3 tbsp oil on the stovetop until soft and set aside.
  5. When the dough has risen, place it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangular shape, about ¼ inch thick and 6 – 7 inches wide. Brush the dough with olive oil and spread the onion mixture on top of the dough. Add the chopped olives and anchovy pieces (optional) on top of the dough and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until the dough is a light brown color.
  6. Remove pizza from oven, add the tuna slices and anchovies on top of the pizza and drizzle with a little olive oil. Slice into pieces about 3 inches wide, arrange the pieces on a platter or wooden cutting board and garnish with various salad greens (I used pieces of watercress and some cos lettuce pieces).

5 Salads in 5 Days: Salmon Mousse with Avocado and Shrimp

Salmon Mousse 2  LR

Day 4 of my ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ series 

Yes, it’s day 4 and only one more day to go! In case you missed my other 3 salad posts, you can find them here: Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts, Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad and Roasted Sweet Potato and Fig Salad with Balsamic Glaze.

What salad do you think I’m going to post tomorrow – it’s a surprise!!

This salad has different tastes and textures: the creamy softness of the salmon mousse, the crispness of the shrimp, the slight tanginess of the avocado and salad greens glazed with the vinaigrette dressing. What are you waiting for – dive in!

IMG_7149

5 Salads in 5 Days: Salmon Mousse with Avocado and Shrimp
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 220 g fresh uncooked salmon pieces
  • ½ cup hot chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. gelatine powder
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cream
  • For the vinaigrette dressing:
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 9 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 Avocados, peeled and sliced thinly
  • Mixed lettuce greens to serve 4
  • 24 shrimp pieces, tails left on
  • salt/pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C. (360 F.)
  2. Drizzle the salmon pieces with a little lemon, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the flesh turns light pink. Remove and let cool.
  3. Dissolve the gelatine powder in the hot chicken stock. Add this mixture to a blender, along with the salmon pieces, shallots, mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt/pepper. Blend for 1 minute, add the cream and blend for another 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the mixture into 4 lightly- oiled ramekins or small dishes. Place in the fridge until set (1 - 2 hours approximate).
  5. In the meantime, prepare the vinaigrette dressing: combine the oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt/pepper.
  6. Peel the avocados and slice into thin pieces. Coat with some of the vinaigrette dressing.
  7. Toss the remaining dressing into a bowl with the mixed salad greens.
  8. When ready to serve, place a small amount of the salad greens onto an individual salad plate. Turn out each mousse onto the bed of lettuce. Arrange the avocado slices in a circle pattern on top of the mousse, place several shrimp pieces inside the circle and arrange a few more shrimp around the edge of the plate. Sprinkle the whole salad with a little freshly ground pepper.

5 Salads in 5 Days: Roasted Sweet Potato and Fig Salad with Balsamic Glaze

 

Fig Sweet Potato Salad

This is Day 3 of my ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ series (Day 1 was Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad and Day 2 was Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad)

Figs leaves were used to cover up the (ahem) private parts of Adam and Eve, but I believe I’ve got a better use for them – add them to a salad with roasted sweet potato wedges and dressed with a balsamic glaze. (I’m talking about using the fruit of the fig, of course, not the fig leaf).

Looking back on my childhood, I associated figs with Fig Newton cookies and I must admit I was more fond of laying into a Hostess Twinkie than into a Fig Newton. But figs are my hero in this salad: their plump ripeness goes well with the slight tartness of the balsamic reduction and the roasted sweet potato wedges.

And, oh, I believe that Cleopatra was also fond of figs ….

IMG_7116

 

4.0 from 1 reviews
5 Salads in 5 Days: Roasted Sweet Potato and Fig Salad with Balsamic Glaze
Serves: 2
 
Roasted sweet potatoes resting on a bed of greens with plump ripe figs, and dressed with a balsamic glaze
Ingredients
  • 1 sweet potato (~ 400 kg)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (to coat sweet potato)
  • Salt/pepper
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 red chili, sliced thinly
  • 3 ripe figs, quartered
  • 150 g soft goat’s cheese (optional)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fine sugar
  • Salad Greens
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
  2. Cut the sweet potato into wedges about ½ inch wide. Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place wedges skin-side down on baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes, or until soft but still firm. Remove from oven and let cool.
  3. Halve the spring onions lengthwise then cut into 1.5 inch segments. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in small saucepan, add the spring onion and chili slices and cook for several minutes until vegetables are soft.
  4. To prepare the balsamic glaze, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar together in a saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for several minutes until the liquid thickens (but should be runnier than honey).
  5. To finish, place the salad greens on a platter and arrange the sweet potato pieces on top. Next, spoon the spring onion and chili pieces over the sweet potatoes. Arrange the fig pieces among the potato wedges and drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Sprinkle the crumbled goat’s cheese around the platter before serving.

5 Salads in 5 Days: Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad

IMG_7064

Well, this is Day 2 of my ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ marathon. Yesterday, I posted Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts, a French dish influenced by the cheeses served in the Loire Valley. My kitchen has been all but turned upside down, trying to prepare and photograph five different salads within five consecutive days.

Today’s salad is a Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad, a colourful salad great to serve at Barbeques or at family gatherings. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem, written by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The authors point out that it is impossible to define one style of ‘Jerusalem food’ since the region consists of a huge tapestry of cultures: Jews, Arabs, Christians, Greek and Russian Orthodox, etc.

However, one thing that is common in Jerusalem is the frequent use of olive oil, lemon juice and olives in cooking, as well as pastries stuffed with all sorts of cheeses. But a real eye opener for me was the comment that “food seems to be the only unifying force in this highly fractured place.” It is the one thing that brings people together, not only in Jerusalem but the whole world as well.

With this thought in mind, let us turn to the Mediterranean influenced Mixed Bean Salad. This recipe goes beyond the usual bean salad with its rich blend of herbs and spices, such as cumin and coriander seeds, as well as fresh tarragon.

This salad has many colours – many textures – just like Jerusalem!

 IMG_7077

5 Salads in 5 Days: Mediterranean Mixed Bean Salad
Serves: 4
 
A refreshing mixed bean salad with a Mediterranean influence
Ingredients
  • 280 g (10 oz) green beans, trimmed
  • 280 g (10 oz) yellow beans, trimmed
  • 1 large red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 4 - 6 tbsp. capers (optional)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 g (1/3 cup) chopped tarragon
  • 20 g (2/3 cup) flat leaf parsley (or mixture of parsley and corander)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • For the lemon vinaigrette dressing
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • 2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C (360 F).
  2. Fill large saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil; add the green and yellow beans, reduce heat and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until beans are cooked but still a bit crunchy. Refresh the beans by soaking briefly in ice-cold water, drain and pat dry and place in large mixing bowl.
  3. Slice the red pepper into quarters and rub well with olive oil. Place the peppers in oven with skin-side facing up. Bake for several minutes until the peppers become tender, remove from oven and slice into thin strips. Add peppers to bowl with the cooked beans.
  4. Prepare the lemon dressing: whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt/pepper. Add the dressing to the beans and red peppers and toss.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan or skillet, add the minced garlic, cumin coriander seeds and capers. Cook for several minutes then add to the mixing bowl containing the beans and red pepper,
  6. Slice the spring onion into pieces about 1 inch long, then slice again lengthwise. Add to the bean mixture, along with the tarragon, parsley, lemon zest and salt/pepper.
  7. Toss well and serve at room temperature.

5 Salads in 5 Days: Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts

IMG_7030

I’ve been on a ‘salad kick’ recently and thought I’d post a salad marathon called ‘5 Salads in 5 Days’ – consecutive days, that is. Don’t know exactly why I’ve got this sudden burst of energy: maybe it’s to lift myself out of my comfortable, over-sized chair.

 As I’m busy making all of these salads, the phrase “salad days” keeps on entering my mind – a phrase meaning the green, inexperienced days of our youth. What was I doing in my “salad days” ? A few faded images enter my mind – perhaps some tear gas and student demonstrations in the 1960’s held on California university campuses or watching the trial of Charles Manson and his followers being played out on the nightly news. And you, dear reader, what were you doing in your “salad days”?

The dish ‘Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad’ is frequently found on menus in French restaurants and features the absolutely delicious St. Maure cheese. This goat’s milk cheese comes from the Loire Valley in France and is named after the town of Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine. It comes in the shape of a small log and is soft and white, under a greyish rind. If you can’t find St. Maure cheese, then you can use some other soft, goat’s milk cheese.

St. Maure goat’s milk cheese, made in the Loire Valley, France

IMG_7007

To make this Warm Goat’s Milk Salad, you first place a slice of the cheese on a small piece of baguette that has been covered with olive oil and some dried oregano. The whole thing is then wrapped in a piece of pancetta or Serrano ham and then placed in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Goats Cheese wrapped pieces

Place the baguette’s around a mound of salad that has been dressed in a yummy vinaigrette, add a few thin slices of ripe pear, sprinkle with a few chopped walnuts and Voilà, you have your Warm Goat’s Cheese Salad.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I’ll reveal my second salad of the series!

IMG_7044

 

4.0 from 2 reviews
Warm Goat's Cheese Salad with Pears and Walnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 - 3
 
A salad surrounded by slices of delicious warm goat's cheese, wrapped in pancetta or Serrano ham, and served with sliced pears and chopped walnuts.
Ingredients
  • Salad Greens (mixture of lettuce, endive, baby spinach, beet root greens, etc)
  • St Maure Goat's Cheese
  • Thin baguette slices
  • Pancetta or Serrano Jamon, finely sliced
  • Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Garnish
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Thin pear slices
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C (broiler function).
  2. Combine salad greens in a large bowl - enough to serve 2 - 3 people.
  3. Make the vinaigrette- mix olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the greens.
  4. Slice thin pieces of the baguette, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with a little oregano. Place a thin piece of St Maure goat’s cheese on each piece of baguette. Wrap a thin piece of either pancetta or Serrano ham around each baguette and brush with some more olive oil. Toast under the oven broiler for 4 minutes maximum until cheese melts.
  5. Serve salad in middle of plate and arrange 4 -5 baguette pieces around the salad. Sprinkle some chopped walnuts around the salad and top with some pear slices.

Salmon and Watercress Salad (Cressonière de Saumon Frais en Salade)

 

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Watercress Salad

 

 

This salad recipe was demonstrated to us on the first day of Intermediate Cuisine at the Paris Le Cordon Bleu school in 2012. Recently, I’ve been thumbing through my notebook of LCB recipes and I thought this one would be a good ‘starter’ dish for having company over to dinner.

This dish is rich in colour and texture, and the addition of watercress, with its slightly ‘peppery’ taste, makes a good addition to the salad (how many times do we roll are eyes upward saying to ourselves, “Not another boring salad!”)

And the watercress also appears in the vinaigrette dressing itself – you pop a hand full of watercress into a blender along with the oil and wine vinegar, and you’ve got yourself a nice salad dressing that can also be used to decorate the plate with ‘dots’ later on.

When do you eat your salad – before, during or after the main meal?

Before revealing the recipe, I’ve been musing about different cultures and at what point in the meal they decide to eat their salads. Americans eat their salad ‘first thing off the bat’, before the main course. Once, I remember having some Australian friends over for dinner and I served the salad on a separate plate before the main course. One guest waited to eat his salad until the main course was served and he then scraped the salad onto his main dinner plate. He said Aussies normally don’t eat the salad on a separate plate.

The French, on the other hand, tend to eat the salad after the main meal, supposedly as a palate cleanser. Any you, my friends, when do you like to eat you salad?

 Watercress – rich in Vitamins A and CWatercress Pix

 Salmon and Watercress Salad – Cressonnière de Saumon en Salade

 Adapted from the Le Cordon Bleu recipe

Serves 4

 Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 30 ml red wine vinegar
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ bunch watercess
  • Salt, pepper

 Salmon Mixture

  • 400 g fresh salmon
  • white wine and lemon
  • 1 hard boiled egg chopped finely
  • 1 spring onion- diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 tbsp vinaigrette dressing (see above)

 Salad Mixture

  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and cut into petals
  • 1 small lettuce
  • ½ bunch watercress
  • Rocket (arugula)
  • 150 g smoked salmon, sliced finely

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  • Place all ingredients for the vinaigrette into a blender and blend until mixture is smooth.
  • Wrap the pieces of fresh salmon in foil. Drizzle with a little white wine and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake the salmon for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until the flesh is no longer pink inside. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Break the salmon up into fine pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the diced spring onion, finely chopped boiled egg, salt and pepper and 1 -2 tbsp. vinaigrette to the mixture.
  • Prepare the tomato petals: bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Remove the top core of each tomato and cut an ‘X’ on the bottom of each one. Place each one into the boiling water for about 1 minute to loosen the skin. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool down.
  • Peel the tomatoes, first cut into quarters then cut these in half, so you have 8 petals for each tomato. Remove all seeds. Marinate the petals in a little vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the lettuce, rocket and water cress into a large bowl and coat with the vinaigrette dressing.
  • To assemble the salad, first place some rocket pieces on a plate, pointing outwards (like sunrays), then add a small clump of salad mixture in the middle.

 Salmon Salad Final 2

  • Next, place a ring of overlapping tomato petals around the salad clump.

Salmon Salad Final 3

  • Now fill each tomato ring with the salmon mixture and place thin ‘ropes’ of smoked salmon around the fresh salmon.

Salmon Salad Final

  • Add a bit more salad leaves around the outside of the tomato.Garnish with a few watercress pieces on top of the salmon and small edible flowers (optional). Decorate the plate with small dots of the vinaigrette dressing.

 

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Tea-Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Mango

IMG_6528Alert the Media! “SMOKING IS GOOD FOR YOU!!” – preparing smoked duck, that is. Smoking duck breasts is easy and the taste is rich and delicious. It’s great in salads and goes well with just about any kind of fruit. Add some mangoes, dried cranberries and fennel and you’ve got yourself a great salad. Yes, Smoked Duck is Good!

 I rarely see Smoked Duck offered in restaurants, so here’s an opportunity to surprise your dinner guests with something a little unusual. Duck is high in protein, niacin, iron and thiamine, although (ahem) a little high on the ‘fat side of things.’

Here is my recipe for Tea-Smoked Duck Breast with Mango- prep time is about 20 minutes and cooking/resting time is about 20 minutes = 40 minutes total.

You’ll need some loose tea leaves for the smoking – I used some Orange Pekoe tea  which has a slight cinnamon flavour – purchased from the T Bar Tea Salon on Gouger Street in Adelaide.

Ingredients

For the tea-smoking mixture

  •  3 – 4 duck breasts
  • 1 cup raw rice (preferably Jasmine)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • peel from one orange
  • 1/2 cup loose black tea leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

For the Salad Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Salad Base

  • salad mixture (choose a combination of baby spinach leaves, green cos lettuce, beetroot leaf, radicchio, etc )
  • 1 fennel bulb, julienned
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • dried cranberries
  • julienned carrot pieces

Directions

  • Prepare the tea-smoking mixture: combine the rice, brown sugar and tea in a bowl. Cut the orange peel into thin, 3 – inch long pieces, being careful not to include the white pith. Add to the dry mixture, along with the cinnamon stick (optional).
  • Trim the fat around the edges of the duck breasts to ‘tidy’ them up. Score the duck skin, making diagonal slices across the skin, being careful not to cut into the duck meat itself.
  • Line a large wok or Dutch oven with a double layer of aluminium foil, leaving at least 3 inches over-hanging the sides. Add the smoking mixture to the wok, spreading it along the bottom to a depth of about 1/4 inch.

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  •  Place the wok over high heat; after 2 – 3 minutes you should notice some wisps of smoke begin to appear. Now place a wire rack on the bottom of the wok, which sits at least one inch above the tea-smoking mixture (I used the round base of a steamer basket).
  • Place the duck breasts on the rack, skin side facing up.

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  • Loosely fold the aluminium edges back over the duck and place a close-fitting lid on top. Reduce the heat to medium and smoke the duck for 8 minutes. Remove the wok from the heat and let stand for 10 more minutes.

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  • Heat a small amount of oil over high heat; with skin-side facing down, sear each duck breast for several minutes until brown and crispy. Reduce heat slightly, turn breast over and repeat on the other side.
  • Remove duck from pan and let cool for several minutes. Slice horizontally into thin pieces – the duck meat should be slightly pink inside. If the meat is grey inside, it is over-cooked and will have a rather tough texture.

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  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad dressing and toss with a mixture of salad greens (baby spinach, radicchio, etc) then add the julienned fennel.
  • To serve the salad on individual plates, place the lettuce/fennel mixture on the bottom. Arrange duck pieces and mangoes on top and garnish with dried cranberries and julienned carrot pieces.

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