Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Salads

In the summer I sometimes like to cook early in the day and then let foods develop their flavors. At dinner time, all my work is done and I can just bring the dishes to room temperature, slice some bread and we're good to go! Two dishes that work well for this are an old fave of mine, Curried Chicken Salad and a new dish I just made for the first time, Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette.

Curried Chicken Salad

4 chicken breasts
1 t salt
2 tomatoes, chunked
large cucumber, unpeeled and thinly sliced
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup vinegar (I used apple cider)
2 t salt
¼ t pepper
1 t curry powder.

Poach the chicken however you like. I cover the breasts with salted water and bring to a boil, then turn to a simmer for about ten minutes then turn off the heat and let the chicken cool in the pan for about 25 minutes. Cut chicken into large bite size chunks.
Whisk the dressing ingredients and mix into chicken, tomatoes and cukes. Allow to marinate for flavors to develop.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette

This is an adaptation form a recipe that I found on I always adapt recipes to what I have on hand and what I like!

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
Handful of fresh oregano leaves
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds fingerling potatoes (such as Ruby Crescent or Russian Banana)
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
Handful of chopped fresh chives (could use green onion)

For vinaigrette:
Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with sea salt and pepper.
For potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet , cover with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. This really depends on the size of your fingerling potatoes—some are quite small so wouldn't need an hour but if they're a bit bigger then 45 min to an hour should work. Cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, chives, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve.

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