Yesterday, Greta gave you a great idea for summer grilling. But when it's really hot...when you don't want to heat the house up or have a whole lot to eat...your best option is something easy, something like a salad.
There are so many good combinations of greens, veggies, fruit, protein, etc. that can come together to make a yummy, substantial meal. Here's one of my favorite salads--it comes from
Giada De Laurentiis and it's really worth trying out. My husband and I love salad, especially raw in salads. The addition of the orange vinaigrette and the salty, crumbled prosciutto really make this special. Give it a try--you'll love it (and if you have extra dressing, consider using it for a marinade for chicken or shrimp...yum!)
Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
* 6 slices prosciutto
* 2 oranges, zested
* 2 small oranges, juiced or 1 large orange, juiced
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 clove garlic, peeled
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 10 to 12 ounces pre-washed spinach
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the prosciutto slices on a baking sheet and bake until just crisp, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Crumble the prosciutto slices into a container and store in the refrigerator.
In a blender, combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until combined. Transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator.
To serve, put the spinach in a large bowl. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat the spinach. Sprinkle with the crisp prosciutto crumbles, toss again, and serve.I also like to have what I call "Cold Plate" for dinner on hot summer nights. For a Cold Plate, you just need to put whatever salads, veggies, etc. you like on a plate and serve it up. I lay down some crisp greens and add a nice scoop of Chicken Salad (one of my favorite things ever!). I add to the plate raw red peppers, celery, carrots, olives, pepperocini, and maybe a hard boiled egg or sliced tomato if you want. It's an easy dinner and if you don't want to cook, you can just grab pre-cooked Chicken Salad from a deli or the grocery store.
If you want to make your own Chicken Salad, try this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa (note: I never use tarragon because I can't stand the stuff! I use parsley instead.)
Chicken Salad Contessa
* 2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (1 1/2 pounds)
* Good olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper * 1/2 cup pecan halves
* 1/2 cup walnuts halves
* 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
* 1 cup green grapes, cut in 1/2
* Lettuce leaves, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool.
When the chicken is cool, remove meat from the bones and discard the skin and bones. Cut the chicken into a 3/4-inch dice.
Meanwhile, place the pecans and walnuts on a separate sheet pan and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
For the dressing, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold in half the chopped tarragon leaves.
Place the diced chicken in a bowl, add the pecans, walnuts and grapes. Pour the dressing over the chicken and toss well. Sprinkle the remaining chopped tarragon leaves on top, and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.
There are so many great salads to be made. I also like throwing together mixed greens, crumbled blue cheese, sliced green onions, craisins, nuts of some sort, and tossing it all with a blue cheese vinaigrette. Yum! Also good, especially for summer: baby spinach, fresh strawberries or raspberries and chopped macadamia nuts with a raspberry vinaigrette--it's crunchy, fresh, and delicious.
What's your favorite salad?
*recipes and photos from Food Network.