Winter is upon us. So are the New Year’s resolutions we made to try and eat better in the coming months.
With that in mind – and knowing that some of us may be coming off of a sugar rush from holiday sweets (and looking forward to Valentine’s Day and Easter chocolates on the horizon) – here is a healthy option summed up in one word: salad.
Salads in winter? Sure.
“Winter is definitely the time of year where you have to be creative with your salads but I find that there are still lots of great locally grown items out there to be adventurous with,” said Brandon Velie, chef and owner of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring.
“What I look for in a winter salad is first and foremost what I can get locally,” said Velie. “That being said (local) green leafy lettuces like arugula and romaine are hard to come by this time of year, so I tend to think more along the lines of kale, collards or mustard greens for my salads. If it is a really cold day, I might make a warm potato salad with a mustard/ bacon vinaigrette or maybe a winter squash salad.”
Start with the greens. Don’t be afraid to mix up a variety of non-traditional greens since that is what’s available: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and kale. You can still find baby spinach, arugula, romaine and red or green lettuces in larger grocery store vegetable bins.
And don’t forget the root vegetables such as turnips, carrots, beets, onions and potatoes. These can be roasted in the oven and tossed in green salads. Roasted carrots, onions and beets will add a mild sweetness to salads while potatoes and turnips will bring a bit of earthiness to the greens.
You can easily make a salad a main course by simply adding about four ounces of a protein (meat, fish or cheese) per person. Velie says his baby kale, pecan and goat cheese salad (recipe below) “goes great with grilled chicken or Manchester Farms Quail over the top. Or even some grilled salmon or South Carolina shrimp.”
Baby Kale, Toasted Pecan and Goat Cheese Salad with Cranberry-Ginger Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
4 cups baby kale, rinsed
1/4 cup toasted pecans, slightly chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Prepare the vinaigrette: Place balsamic vinegar, cranberry sauce, honey, ginger and orange juice in a blender or food processor and blend. Slowly drizzle in oil. Once all oil is in, blend for about ten more seconds.
To prepare salad: In medium bowl toss kale and 2/3 of the dressing. Divide kale on to four plates then sprinkle goat cheese and pecans and drizzle remaining dressing over the salad.
Brandon Velie, Juniper
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 quart Brussels sprouts, shaved thinly by hand or on a mandolin
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmigiano-Reggiano)
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
Prepare the vinaigrette: Put the mustard in a heavy bowl. Slowly add olive oil and walnut oil while whisking. Add lemon juice and sherry vinegar. Finish with chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.
To prepare salad, toss Brussels sprouts, peanuts, cheese and parsley in a salad bowl with the vinaigrette, to taste.
“A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen,” Hugh Acheson
Chef Mike Latta’s Warm Shrimp and Radicchio Salad with Pancetta and Mustard Vinaigrette
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, canola oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound thinly sliced pancetta, julienned
1 pound white shrimp, peeled and de-veined (or substitute whatever is fresh and local)
2 heads raddichio, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced
1 pint (about 2 cups) grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
Prepare the vinaigrette: whisk together the sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallots and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually incorporate the oil in a slow drizzle, while whisking, until emulsified. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
To prepare salad, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and pancetta. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the pancetta becomes translucent. Add shrimp and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Add the remaining salad ingredients to the pan and toss to warm through, about 1 minute. Transfer salad to a large bowl and toss lightly with vinaigrette, using just enough to lightly coat the salad. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for later use. Check seasoning in salad and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Divide salad among four salad plates, serve immediately.
“The Charleston Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Heart of the Old South,” Holly Herrick
Related content: http://www.thestate.com/living/article28004506.html
Make your own winter salad
The greens provide needed fiber and vitamins A, C, E and K, iron and calcium and the dark leafy greens act as antioxidants in the body.
Pick your greens
Brussels sprouts: uncooked: shave them using a mandolin or thinly slice with a very sharp knife; cooked: toss in whole roasted sprouts
Cauliflower and broccoli: uncooked: shave or chop fine; cooked: roast, saute or blanch segments
Romain lettuce: uncooked: tear and toss; cooked: try cutting in half lengthwise and grilling or saute in a tablespoon of olive oil or butter until just wilted
Boston and bibb lettuce: known as butter lettuce because of the soft texture of the leaves, tear and toss
Oak leaf and looseleaf lettuces: come in red and green varieties and are mild flavored, will not compete with other flavors.
Cabbage (green, red, Napa, bok choy): uncooked: slice thin or julienne for added crunch; cooked: saute or steam until just tender
Kale: uncooked: tear and toss; cooked: saute, steam or make kale chips by roasting in the oven (toss with a bit of oil, season with salt or garlic powder if you like, place kale on baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes)
Collards and turnip greens: uncooked: remove the main stem and julienne; cooked: saute, steam or chip
Radicchio (chicory), baby beet greens and endive: uncooked: tear and toss or use whole endive leaves as a spoon or bowl for the salad; cooked: radicchio and baby beet greens lose a bit of its bitterness when grilled or wilted
Escarole, frisee, cress, arugula: Slightly bitter tasting when compared to lettuce; cress (watercress) adds a peppery note
Pick your proteins
Add in about 4 ounces of one of these proteins per person to make a meal:
Bacon or pancetta: fried or oven baked (to render/reduce fat)
Shrimp: it’s the season in South Carolina, so boil them, broil or saute with a bit of olive oil or butter
Pork or beef: find the least expensive cut and the cut the meat into cubes, as if you were making a stew. Saute with a bit of oil in a pan and season with salt and pepper and a bit of lemon juice and zest and toss on top of the salad.
Fish: sure you can open that can of tuna, walk on the wild side with some anchovies, or you can pick up some fried catfish or whitefish from one of Columbia’s fish markets.
Poultry: pick up a roasted or fried chicken from the grocery store deli and chop it up into bite-sized bits; use chopped turkey; grill a whole quail (Manchester Farms Quail sells bacon-wrapped birds online).
Cheese: crumble or shave your favorite feta, blue, parmesan, asiago, cheddar, gouda...
To add an added layer of flavor and texture
Citrus: segments of oranges, tangerines and grapefruit can brighten the taste of a salad.
Apples, pears, seedless grapes, pomegranate seeds: add a soft pop of sweetness
Nuts: dry roast a handful of walnuts, pecans or almonds in a hot frying pan for extra crunch
Croutons: But only if you make them yourself. Remove crust from stale bread slices (you can use pita bread). Brush with melted butter. Cut bread slices into small cubes. Place cubes on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until browned. Let cool before serving.
Herbs: mint, dill, basil...pick a favorite for a refreshing bite