Slip out the bowl Joe, toss some new greens, Jean…just get yourself free..to make some satisfying salads. After quite the wait I received a copy of Food 52 Mighty Salads from Blogging for Books. I flipped through the book and with my trusty pad of post it notes tagged quite a few recipes I wanted to try. This is a book of main dish salads, hearty and substantial enough to serve alone. The book is organized by ingredient, leafy greens, not so leafy greens, grains, pasta and bread, meat and fish and seafood. The photos are gorgeous and the recipes themselves are laid out well. Tips and how to’s are interspersed throughout the book. I am guessing different people submitted various recipes. Some recipes have explicit directions while others, coincidentally the ones I tried, were a bit looser ie. “blend ingredients together”. I had to think for a second with what? A food processor, blender, or would a bowl and a whisk suffice?
A closer look at the recipes narrowed down which ones I wanted to try, many were pretty involved or contained ingredients I didn’t have on hand. I ended up with 4 recipes, Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad, Lamb Kebabs Grilled with Tomato Cucumber Salad, Half Blistered Tomato Pasta Salad and the Brioche Croutons (ok, not a salad but a bonus recipe).
Right off hand I would say none of the recipes I tried WOWED me. With every dish a tweak would pop into my head or I would think this is not bad but it’s missing something. The Corn Cakes were tasty, a bit heavy but had a nice crunch from the cornmeal and corn. The tomato-crab salad fell flat and needed a bigger hit of acid. I added a squeeze of lemon trying to give it some pop. I also would have thrown some fresh corn in with tomatoes and crab for some crunch and sweetness. Full disclosure, I ended up hitting it with a dollop of Siracha mayo, but that’s me.
The pasta salad was a hit with the hubby but I once again thought it could use a flavor pop. I julienned my basil and mint to distribute the herbs through the salad more evenly. It reminded me of a de-constructed pesto.
The grilled lamb kebabs were tender and juicy from the marinade. I only had greek yogurt on hand so the marinade was thick and left the kebabs a bit pale in color. The sauce of tahini and yogurt was flat so I added a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, be generous with the salt. The tomatoes and cucumbers are a classic, I would add slivered red onion for pop and a sprinkling of feta to finish next time.
Brioche toasted with honey and walnuts and sprinkled with sea salt. Adds a nice touch to yogurt or fresh seasonal fruits-peaches or berries. My new favorite breakfast bowl, Greek yogurt, fresh berries drizzled with honey and topped with the croutons and toasted walnuts. Stupid easy and a winner.
I don’t think I can give this book a resounding thumbs up but it is a solid book. If I try more recipes I’ll keep you posted.