“Me? Salad? No way!” – Yeah, we hear the same voice in our heads more than often too. But there are some salads that have somehow, appealed to our palates in more than one way. The crunchy textures, the tangy taste, the fatty dressings on the vegetables and crispy bacon in the salads – make us hate to love these salads. We’re sure you’d agree too
1. Cobb Salad
This is a “composed” salad, meaning the ingredients are arranged on the salad as opposed to all being tossed together. Originally it was a way for the restaurant to simply use up leftovers, but it soon became the Brown Derby‘s most popular dish.
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 4 cups diced cooked chicken
- 2 avocados, peeled and diced
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, crumble and set aside.
- Arrange a bed of lettuce on the serving plates. Arrange the eggs, bacon, chicken, avocados, tomatoes, and Roquefort cheese in straight rows on top of the lettuce, covering the surface completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking constantly to form the dressing. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad, and serve immediately.
2. Thai Beef Salad
This gourmet version of Thai beef salad is full of the authentic flavours of Asia. It has the succulence of the beef, the crunchiness of the peanuts, the heat from the chillies and the sweet tang from the sugar. Not to be missed!
- 1 bunch coriander 3cm piece ginger, finely grated
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 long red chillies, seeded, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 lemons, zested, juiced
- 2 tbs fish sauce
- 55g (1/4 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 700g beef sirloin, cut into 1cm x 4cm strips
- 80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil quick
- 1 red onion, halved, thinly sliced
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 cup mint leaves
- Chopped roasted peanuts and cooked rice stick noodles (optional), to serve
- To make nam jim, trim roots from coriander and rinse well. Pick leaves and reserve. Process coriander roots, ginger, garlic, half the chillies, lemon zest and juice, fish sauce and brown sugar in a food processor until well combined and finely chopped.
- Combine half the nam jim with beef in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.
- Heat 2 tbs oil in a large wok over high heat. Add half the beef mixture and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until beef is browned and just cooked through. Remove from wok and repeat with the remaining 2 tbs oil and beef mixture.
- Place onion, cucumber, reserved coriander leaves, mint, remaining chillies, beef mixture and remaining nam jim in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, scatter with peanuts and serve with rice stick noodles, if using.
- Nam jim is a chilli-based Thai dressing with a balance of spicy, salty, sweet and sour flavours. Allow 30 minutes
Tip: Allow 50g dried rice stick noodles per person. To cook the noodles, place in a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water and stand for 10 minutes. Drain, then toss with 1 tbs sesame oil.
3. Potato and Asparagus Salad
Potatoes are always a crowd favourite, no matter where you go. This salad has our favourite vegetable tossed in with creamy mayonnaise and herbs that are a delightful play on your tastebuds. With the goodness of asparagus, and spikes of herbs, this salad is an easy way for you to impress your friends too!
- 1kg potatoes, peeled, halved
- 2 bunches asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup (150g) whole egg mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- salt and cracked black pepper
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Cover the potatoes with cold water and boil for 15 minutes over high heat or until just tender when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water then plunge into iced water. Drain and set aside.
- To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- To serve, arrange the potato and asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with the mayonnaise dressing. Serves 6.
4. Cha-cha Chicken Salad
This chicken salad is so full of surprises and tang that it really is a Cha-Cha Chicken salad. You’ll love this salad if you love the delicious sweet-savoury combination in salads. The flavour of the cooked chicken in enhanced with the sweetness of the pineapple and cranberries. While the cranberries won’t be available in local markets, you can pick them up from the gourmet supermarkets like Nature’s Basket, Gourmet, Sorbet and sometimes Namdhari’s Fresh.
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
- 2/3 cup orange-flavored sweetened dried cranberries
- 1 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds
- Garnishes: fresh herbs, blackberries, raspberries, sliced peaches
1. Whisk together cream cheese and mayonnaise, curry powder and salt in a large bowl; stir in chicken, pineapple, and cranberries just until blended.
2. If desired, spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 8-inch round cake pan; cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Invert chicken salad onto a cake stand, and remove plastic wrap. Gently press chopped almonds onto sides of chicken salad. Garnish with berries.
5. Grilled Peach and Mozzarella Salad
A cumin-lime vinaigrette spiked with a tiny amount of tequila adds a little something extra to this gorgeous grilled salad of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese. As the seasons change, consider substituting heirloom tomatoes, plums, and other soft fruits for the peaches (traditional peaches work better in this dish than white peaches, which have more sugar and water and don’t hold up as well on the grill).
- 5 peaches (not white)
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tequila (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 (6-oz.) package watercress or baby arugula, thoroughly washed (or any other salad leaves)
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 16 (1/4-inch) slices
- Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs
1. Peel and chop 1 peach. Cut remaining 4 peaches into 28 (1/4-inch-thick) rounds, cutting through stem and bottom ends. (Cut peaches inward from sides, cutting each side just until you reach the pit. Discard pits.)
2. Process chopped peach, green onions, cilantro, honey, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, chilli powder, and, if desired, tequila in a food processor 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth. Add oil, and pulse 3 to 4 times or until thoroughly combined.
3. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with some oil, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high). Brush both sides of peach rounds with 1/3 cup peach dressing.
4. Grill peach rounds, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
5. Arrange watercress evenly on 4 plates. Alternately layer 4 grilled peach rounds and 4 cheese slices over watercress on each plate. Top each with 3 more peach rounds. Drizzle with remaining peach dressing. Garnish, if desired.
And, those are top 5 Zoink! salads you’d hate to love. We’re sure you have many more on your list. Do share them with us, and leave your comments below!