Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: salads (page 1 of 3)

AVOCADO SALAD

Mid-summer, and it’s still hot in most places. And, of course, global warming isn’t helping any. For days like these, here’s a recipe that was a favorite in our family back on the block. The recipe is easy, quick and delicious; and it’s appropriate now that good, ripe avocados are still in season. The result is a compendium of buttery chunks of avocado, with hints of radish heat, sausage, and a simple vinaigrette that gives you a crisp and refreshing salad. With some crusty bread and a good wine, red or white, it makes for a fine summer meal.

AVOCADO SALAD

Ingredients:

¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 (6-8 oz.) firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 head lettuce (it can be Bibb lettuce, romaine, or as we did it, mesclun mix) torn into 1-inch pieces
3 medium radishes, thinly sliced
6 ounces thinly sliced sausage (pepperoni, salami, or other favorite)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl or cruet, whisk together lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil.
  2.  Toss greens, radishes, sausage, and add just enough dressing to coat.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

ENSALADA DE TOMATE, QUESO Y CEBOLLA (Tomato Cheese and Onion Salad)

Here’s a quick summer salad that, back on block, was popular with my family: Ensalada de Tomate, Queso y Cebolla (Tomato, Cheese and Onion Salad). It’s easy to prepare and goes great with a crusty loaf of bread and a chilled white wine (or lightly chilled red like a Gamay or Bardolino).

ENSALAD DE TOMATOE, QUESO Y CEBOLLA
(Tomato, Cheese and Onion Salad)

Ingredients:

5 medium ripe tomatoes (about 1½ pounds), cored and thinly sliced
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut in thin slices
1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or ¼ teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh shredded basil

Instructions:

1. Arrange alternating layers of tomatoes and onions on a large serving platter. Top with cheese slices.
2. Combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a cruet or tightly covered jar. Shake and pour over salad.
3. Sprinkle with basil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings.

 

 

 

 

 

CAPRESE SALAD

Caprese Salad is a popular Italian salad made with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt and olive oil. It sometimes contains arugula. The following recipe is my adaptation which has loose leaf lettuce rather than arugula. I happened to have loose lettuce on hand and used that. Also, the mozzarella is not cut into slices. It’s a whole ball of mozzarella centered in the middle of the salad. This is not my original idea. Credit goes to the cookbook writer Chrissy Teigen who does her caprese salad that way. Where she got the idea, I do not know. But credit is given where credit is due.  Again, with a crusty loaf of bread and some nice chilled white wine (or red, for that matter), you’ve got yourself a perfect summer salad, either as an appetizer or main course.

CRAPESE SALAD

Ingredients:

1 (16-ounce) link sausage, either Italian sausage, Andouille, keilbasa, bratwurst, etc., even plant based sausage
1 bunch salad greens
1 (8-ounce ball) mozzarella cheese
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into slices
10-12 pitted Kalamata or black olives
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook sausage: If sausage has a casing, remove the casing. Cut sausage into small rounds and cook in a pan with a little oil until sausage loses its pink color, about 6-9 minutes. Note: if it’s pork sausage, it should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees).  Set aside.
  2.  Scatter the salad greens on a serving platter. Cut a small opening in the mozzarella ball so you can see the center.  Place cheese in the in center of the greens. Arrange the tomatoes and olives around the cheese ball. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.
  3.  Season the entire salad with salt and pepper. Top with the sausage and serve.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.

 

BLUEBERRY-CUCUMBER-FETA SALAD

I’ve never been a fan of fruit salads—until I came across this one. Where I got it from, I have no idea. But it was another hot day, and the thought of heating up the stove for a meal, was just unthinkable. So, I decided, let’s try this one, just for the hell of it.  It’s got blueberries, which I like, and feta, one of my favorite cheese. The result was magnificent. In fact, fabulous. The mild acidity of the blueberries meshed well with the salty feta and sharp tasting mint. Just in case, I added a bit of honey; and that made it scrumptious. Note that this dish can be served as an appetizer or, as we had it, a main course. Add a crusty loaf of bread and a nice white wine, and you’re set for great summer dining.

Please do not forget to rinse blueberries, scallions, spinach and mint under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Just basic hygiene, and it never hurts.

BLUEBERRY-CUCUMBER-FETA SALAD

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 cucumbers, peeled, with seeds scraped out, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 bunch or bag of spinach, chopped, if desired
2 cups lightly packed fresh mint

Instructions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add dressing and toss to combine. Serve.
Yield: 4 or more servings.

 

 

 

PANZANELLA (TOMATO-BREAD SALAD)

Panzanella (pant-sa-nella) is a tomato-bread salad that hails from Tuscany. Historians state that it’s origins is the 16th century, when Italians started mixing onions, oil and vinegar with bread.  It wasn’t until the 20th century when tomatoes were added, and that has become the norm. It makes for a great summer salad.

PANZANELLA
(Tomato-Bread Salad)

Ingredients:

1 baguette or country bread (about 8 ounces), day old is fine
1½ to 2 pounds ripe red tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cube or tear bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a salad bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garlic and basil. Using your hands, toss together in the bowl. Sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and toss again. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

ENSALADA DE ALMEJAS CON AGUACATE Y TOMATES

Summer time again. The weather heats up and the thought of cooking over a stove, even with air conditioning, is insufferable. So here’s a quickie salad you may consider but may not have thought of.  It’s a salad of clams with avocado and tomatoes. A clam meat salad, you say? Yes, minced clams. In my family, back on the block, we loved minced clam meat. My mother would make a great salad with it which we all savored. Now, this was not necessarily whole clams and their contents, but clam meat that comes in cans. Yes, cans.  I know, the elites among you may turn up your nose at opening a can for dinner since it’s so . . . so déclassé. Well, I still love tuna fish sandwiches, and crabmeat, and they all come from a can. Yes, I’m a philistine and proud of it.  Besides, this salad makes it so easy. Mix some clam meat with olive oil and herbs, and add avocado and tomatoes, and you have a great salad for a hot humid day. Add some crusty bread and some good white wine like a Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio, or beer, and you have a summer banquet.

ENSALADA DE ALMEJAS CON AGUACATE Y TOMATES
(Clam-Avocado-Tomato Salad)

Ingredients:

5 (or 6) 6.5 ounce cans minced clams
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 lemon, cut in half
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper  taste
1 fully ripened avocado
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1 head lettuce (escarole, leaf lettuce, romaine, etc.) or a bunch of fresh spinach

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, combine minced clams, olive oil, vinegar, juice of ½ lemon,  garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well.
2. Cut avocado in half, peel and remove the pit. Cut each half into 6 to 8 wedges. Squeeze remaining lemon juice over avocado to prevent discoloration.
3. Make a bed of crisp lettuce leaves or spinach on a salad plate  or serving platter. Place clam meat in center of serving platter. Arrange  avocado and tomato wedges alternately around the clam meat. Sprinkled lightly with salt and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

ZUCCHINI SALAD

Summer is zucchini time, what some call summer squash (as opposed to winter squash). Any amateur gardener knows how prolific the little suckers can be. Thus we have an abundance of zucchini, and an abundance of hot weather. Combine the two for better affect when  the humidity is high, and you got Zucchini Salad.

Initially, when I prepared zucchini salad I would use regular mayonnaise and, maybe, a touch of olive oil. Then I discovered Herb Mayonnaise and the rest, as they say, is history. With a crusty loaf of bread and a good white wine or even a rosé, and you have a great summer meal.  Buen Gusto.

ZUCCHINI SALAD

Ingredients:

1 pound zucchini, peeled and coarsely grated
Salt to taste (optional)
Herb Mayonnaise (see below)

Herb Mayonnaise:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or 1 teaspoon dried
Fresh black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Spread grated zucchini on 3 layers of paper towels, sprinkle with salt and let stand 1 hour.
  2.  Meanwhile, prepare Herb Mayonnaise by stirring together all ingredients in a large bowl. Add zucchini to herb mixture and stir to mix. Spoon into a serving dish and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPINACH-GARBANZO SALAD

It’s as hot as you know what. The heat wave if infesting almost the entire country. These are salad days. No heating up that kitchen stove. Instead, how ’bout a nice Spinach-Garbanzo Salad. By garbanzo, I mean chickpeas, as they are called in these parts. With a nice chilled white wine (a pinot grigio, or, if you want something a bit sweeter, a nice Rhine wine, perhaps) and a crusty loaf of bread; you’re set. Enjoy the breeze.

SPINACH-GARBANZO SALAD

Ingredients:

1 (15-os.) can garbanzo beans
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and wiped
1 bell pepper (either green, red or yellow) seeded and diced
4 ounces sliced salami (or pepperoni)
Garlic Dressing (see below)
1 large tomato, cut into wedges
Fresh basil

Garlic Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
Salt and  fresh black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Combine garbanzo beans, spinach, bell pepper and salami slices in a bowl.
2. Prepare garlic dressing and pour over salad. Stir to mix.
3. Top with tomato wedges, garnish with basil, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings

 

 

 

 

 

 

ENSALADA DE REMOLACHA (Beet Salad)

Recently a friend gave us a bunch of fresh beets that she had just grown in her garden. So, the question was, What do we do with beets? I guess one could make Borscht. What else? There’s always beet salad.  But you really have to like beets to eat beet salad. Beets, like some foods is an acquire taste. Kids do not like beets. I away s did (I was a weird kid). In the family we had Ensalada de Remolacha or Beet Salad. And we all loved it. It contained onion, tomato, lemon juice,  olive oil, and a little sugar. From the youngest to the oldest, we would scarf it up.The perfect side dish to steak, ham, chicken or lamb.

Kiddies, here it is, the the beet recipe everybody will love—by way of Nuyorican cuisine.

ENSALADA DE REMOLACHA
(Beet Salad)

Ingredients:

1 pound beets, trimmed of leaves
Salt to taste
1 small onion, slice into thin rounds
1 small tomato, about ¼ pound, cored and cut into thin slices
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Instructions:

  1. Put the beets in a kettle or saucepan, add water to cover and salt. Bring to  boil and let cook, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until beets are tender. Cooking time will depend on the size and age of the beets.
  2.  Drain the beets, peel them, and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix gently. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish with basil before serving..
    Yield: 4-6 servings.

Tofu Salad

Waning days of summer, but it’s still hot in certain areas; and salads are king. Which means one has to become inventive.  There are so many ways of making a  good salad, and so many ingredients that can be used, apart from the usual greens and tomatoes. You have seafood salads, beans salads, pasta salads, steak salads, ext. So, how about a tofu salad? Why not? Everything else has been added to the canon. With tofu we have a unique, healthy alternative to the usual  norm.

Tofu is an acquired taste. An there’s a reason fort that. The problem with tofu is , that on it’s own, it’s rather bland. And, ironically, this is also its greatest asset: it can take on whatever flavors are added to it via herbs, spices or seasonings. In this tofu rending I gave it an Asian slant using using soy sauce and sesame oil along with basil, garlic, oregano and scallions rounding out the dish. You can have it as a salad entrée by itself; or you can serve it over plain steamed rice for variation.

TOFU SALAD

1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 package (20-oz) extra firm tofu, rinsed and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes or chunks
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup shopped scallions
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground  black pepper to taste
A pinch of brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

  1. In a salad bowl (or any medium bowl that’s convenient), toss the tofu with the tomatoes.
  2. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, scallions, oregano, garlic powder, pepper and sugar. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Stir in basil and mint, and serve.
    Yield: 4-5 servings.

 

 

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