Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Review: Salad As A Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season by Patricia Wells

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006123883X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061238833 Review

Product DescriptionCulinary legend Patricia Wells is back with the definitive guide to creating delicious and hearty salads for any occasion—including more than 150 recipes and gorgeous color photographs. It's a simple yet compelling concept: enjoying a light and delicious main-course salad as a healthy, fresh alternative to more conventional and traditional fare. You can experience a whole world in a salad—with tender greens, savory meat, seafood, and vegetable accompaniments, and versatile dressings—and salad-friendly sides such as homemade bread and home-cured olives. In Salad As A Meal, Patricia Wells gives readers hundreds of delectable ideas, with concepts inspired by her Provencal garden and the interests of students in her high-demand cooking classes. Patricia knows how we want to eat today—and shows us with these exceptional recipes, including:
  • Spring Salad: Asparagus, Peas, Beans, and Fennel
  • Summer Salad: Green Beans, Toasted Nuts, and Cured Olives
  • Provence on a Plate: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Tapenade
  • Zucchini Blossom Frittata with Goat Cheese and Mint
  • Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Parsley, and Spring Onions
  • Chicken and Soba Noodles with Ginger-Peanut Sauce
  • Lobster Salad with Green Beans, Apple, and Avocado
Patricia also offers recipes for soup sides, from Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup to Watercress Soup with Warm Oysters, as well as breads of all kinds, including Crispy Flatbread, Tortilla Chips, Ham and Cheese Bread, and Multigrain Sourdough Bread. Plus, a list of Patricia's favorite pantry items and an entire chapter devoted to dressings and sauces will inspire readers to come up with their own unique salad creations with ingredients in season and on hand.
From Salad as a Meal: Cobb Salad
Robert H. Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, is said to have invented this salad in the 1930s as a late-night snack for himself. No wonder it has remained an American classic. With the crunch of the iceberg and onions, the soft richness of the avocado, the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the tomato, and the bite of the blue cheese, this salad has it all! And it is beautiful to boot. 4 servings
  • 2-1/2 ounces smoked bacon, rind removed, cut into matchsticks (3/4 cup)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (4 cups)
  • 2 ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cubed
  • 4 ounces chilled blue cheese (preferably Roquefort), crumbled (1 cup)
  • 4 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled, and cut into thin rounds
  • Yogurt and Lemon Dressing (page 331)
  • Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large, dry skillet, brown the bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to several layers of paper towels to absorb the fat. Blot the top of the bacon with several layers of paper towels to absorb any additional fat. Set aside.
2. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cheese, and spring onions. Toss with just enough dressing to lightly and evenly coat the ingredients. Season generously with pepper, and serve.
Wine Suggestion: This is a special salad, one that seems to hit the spot with all my guests, so let’s open a nice, special bottle of smoky- style Alsatian Riesling from the house of Léon Beyer, Trimbach, or Hugel. Neither you nor your guests will be disappointed.

From Salad as a Meal: Lobster Salad with Green Beans, Apple, and Avocado

I first sampled a version of this light and lively salad as a meal at chef Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir in Paris’s 6th arrondissement. Yves and I participated in the New York marathon in 2006, and I am sure that the strength gained from this protein-rich salad helped me make it to the finish line! This dish has it all: color (the red bits are lobster roe), crunch, and a light touch imparted by a dressing of yogurt and mustard. 4 servings
  • A 5-quart pasta pot fitted with a colander
  • 4 large chilled dinner plates
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 10 ounces slim haricots verts (green beans), trimmed at both ends and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
  • 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon imported French mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (do not peel)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound (2 cups) cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
2. Fill the pasta pot with 3 quarts of water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the coarse salt and the beans, and blanch until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. (Cooking time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately remove the colander from the water, letting the water drain from the beans. Plunge the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to lose flavor.) Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick kitchen towel to dry. (Store the cooked beans in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.)
3. In a large, shallow bowl, combine the yogurt, mustard, and fine salt and whisk to blend. Taste for seasoning. Add the green beans, chives, apple, avocado, and lobster. Toss to coat. Arrange on the plates and serve.
Wine Suggestion: A fine Chardonnay is in order here, such as a dependable Burgundy, like the well-priced and well-made Viré Clessé from the Cave de Viré, particularly their Cuvée Les Acacias, with its hints of fresh apples and honey.

About the Author

Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs a popular cooking school—At Home with Patricia Wells—in Paris and Provence. Salad As A Meal is her twelfth book. She won the James Beard Award for The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, and Simply French. Also nominated for Beard Awards were Vegetable Harvest and The Paris Cookbook. With her husband, Walter, she is also the author of We've Always Had Paris . . . and Provence. The French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. For more than twenty-five years she was the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune.

My Review

I am a huge lover of cookbooks but I did not find a lot to rave about in this cookbook.  There are some lovely photographs but not a lot of photographs of the prepared food.  I found the recipes are quite modern and trendy, they just did not have a lot of appeal for me.  I think this would be a good cookbook for those who tend to follow a vegetarian lifestyle.

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