Archive | Picnic Recipes

GRILLED TOMATO, ONION, AND BREAD SALAD2

Grilled Tomato, Onion, and Bread Salad
4 servings

Here’s a delicious summer salad that is prepared on the grill. It needs to stand for about 15 minutes before eating, giving you time to cook burgers or another quick-cooking main dish.

2 slices red onion (1⁄4-inch-thick slices)
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (approximate), divided
3 large tomatoes, halved from top to bottom
6 slices firm country-style bread such as Italian (3⁄4-inch-thick slices)
3 or 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into 2 shorter halves
1⁄3 cup prepared vinaigrette dressing*
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

You’ll also need: several thin wooden skewers (or a handful of wooden toothpicks), pastry brush, rimmed baking sheet, spatula, knife, large mixing bowl, and tongs

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Run a wooden skewer horizontally through the rings of each onion slice to hold the rings together (or spear each with several toothpicks). Brush with oil. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely marked; transfer to baking sheet. Brush tomatoes with oil. Place on grill, cut-side down; cook for 2 minutes, then carefully turn and grill on the skin side for about 2 minutes longer; transfer to baking sheet. Grill bread until nicely marked on both sides, watching carefully to prevent burning (bread burns very easily). Remove from heat and immediately rub a cut garlic clove over the bread on both sides, seasoning generously. Brush both sides with oil. Break or cut toasted bread into chunks, 3⁄4 to 1 inch each, adding to mixing bowl.

When onion and tomatoes are cool, chop onion somewhat coarsely and add to bowl with bread; cut tomatoes into 3⁄4-inch chunks and add, along with any liquid, to bowl. Add about 1⁄4 cup of the vinaigrette and the parsley; toss gently but thoroughly to combine everything. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Add remaining vinaigrette just before serving, unless salad is already as moist as you like.

*For a simple vinaigrette, combine 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or 3 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil), 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard in a small jar; cover and shake well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you like.

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GRILLED TOMATO, ONION, AND BREAD SALAD

Grilled Tomato, Onion, and Bread Salad
4 servings

Here’s a delicious summer salad that is prepared on the grill. It needs to stand for about 15 minutes before eating, giving you time to cook burgers or another quick-cooking main dish.

2 slices red onion (1⁄4-inch-thick slices)
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (approximate), divided
3 large tomatoes, halved from top to bottom
6 slices firm country-style bread such as Italian (3⁄4-inch-thick slices)
3 or 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into 2 shorter halves
1⁄3 cup prepared vinaigrette dressing*
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

You’ll also need: several thin wooden skewers (or a handful of wooden toothpicks), pastry brush, rimmed baking sheet, spatula, knife, large mixing bowl, and tongs

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Run a wooden skewer horizontally through the rings of each onion slice to hold the rings together (or spear each with several toothpicks). Brush with oil. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely marked; transfer to baking sheet. Brush tomatoes with oil. Place on grill, cut-side down; cook for 2 minutes, then carefully turn and grill on the skin side for about 2 minutes longer; transfer to baking sheet. Grill bread until nicely marked on both sides, watching carefully to prevent burning (bread burns very easily). Remove from heat and immediately rub a cut garlic clove over the bread on both sides, seasoning generously. Brush both sides with oil. Break or cut toasted bread into chunks, 3⁄4 to 1 inch each, adding to mixing bowl.

When onion and tomatoes are cool, chop onion somewhat coarsely and add to bowl with bread; cut tomatoes into 3⁄4-inch chunks and add, along with any liquid, to bowl. Add about 1⁄4 cup of the vinaigrette and the parsley; toss gently but thoroughly to combine everything. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Add remaining vinaigrette just before serving, unless salad is already as moist as you like.

*For a simple vinaigrette, combine 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or 3 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil), 1 tablespoon wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, and 1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard in a small jar; cover and shake well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you like.

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MEDITERRANEAN POTATO SALAD

Mediterranean Potato Salad
4 servings

This potato salad uses oil instead of mayonnaise; it’s good chilled or at room temperature. Tossing the potatoes with the dressing while they’re still warm helps the dressing to soak into the potatoes.

11⁄2 pounds small red potatoes
Half of a small cucumber
1⁄4 cup olive oil
11⁄2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
1⁄2 cup diced red or orange bell pepper
One-quarter of a small red onion, thinly sliced into quarter-rings
3 or 4 pepperoncini peppers, cores and stems discarded, thinly sliced (optional)

Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut cucumber into quarters lengthwise; cut away and discard seedy cores, then cut into 1⁄4-inch slices and set aside.

When potatoes are fork-tender, drain and refresh with cold water until they are cool enough to handle but still warm. In a large mixing bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and white pepper together. Cut warm potatoes into 3⁄4-inch cubes and add to bowl with dressing; stir gently with a wooden spoon to coat. Add prepared cucumber, bell pepper, onion, and pepperoncini; stir gently to combine.

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ROASTED BEETS WITH MUSTARD

Roasted Beets with Mustard
4 servings

A little advance prep produces a gorgeous, simple dish. It is excellent chilled or at room temperature, making it easy to carry to a picnic.

4 medium beets with greens
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 400 °F. Cut greens off the beets, leaving a small nub of stems attached at the top of each beet. Wrap beets individually in foil; place in oven and bake until fork-tender, 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 hours. While beets are roasting, cut the stems off the greens; discard stems (or feed them to your parrot, as I do!). Chop leaves coarsely, then cook in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water; pat dry with a clean towel and set aside.

When beets are tender, remove from oven and set aside, still wrapped, until cool enough to handle. Peel beets and cut each into 8 wedges. In mixing bowl, stir mustard, tarragon, and oil together. Add beet wedges and greens; mix well. Season with pepper to taste.

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img_3081summersurprise

SUMMER SURPRISE SALAD

Summer Surprise Salad
4 servings

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This colorful, easy salad offers a surprising—but delicious—combination of watermelon and tomato. If cotija is unavailable, substitute feta.

3 to 4 cups watermelon chunks (1-inch chunks), seeds removed
3 cups halved yellow cherry tomatoes, or yellow heritage tomato chunks (3⁄4-inch chunks)
1⁄2 cup crumbled fresh cotija cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fruit-infused or plain balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
11⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt for individual use

In large bowl or sealable container, combine watermelon, tomatoes and cheese; stir gently to mix. Combine oil and vinegar in a small jar; pack chopped herbs in a small container. When you’re ready to serve the salad, shake the dressing well; pour over salad and stir gently. Sprinkle herbs over salad, and grind a good amount of black pepper over the salad; stir again and serve, offering the salt to those who want more.

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cabbageweb

RED CABBAGE SALAD

Red Cabbage Salad
4 servings

cabbageweb

Toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar combine to give this colorful salad an Asian vibe.

31⁄2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about half of a medium head)
3 tablespoons dried cranberries (craisins)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 to 3 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds
3 or 4 green onions, trimmed

In microwave-safe bowl, combine cabbage, cranberries, vinegar, and water, stirring to combine. Cover bowl with a plate; microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring once. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add almonds; cook until golden brown, stirring almost constantly. Transfer to bowl with cabbage. Slice green onions (white and green parts) thinly and add to cabbage; toss well to combine.

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panbagnasandwich

PAN BAGNA

Pan Bagna
4 servings
 

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Make this several hours in advance to allow the juices to permeate the bread (pan bagna means “bathed bread”). The olive oil plays a prominent role, so be sure to use really good, fruity oil.

1 baguette, about 16 inches long
3 or 4 anchovies, optional (but excellent)
2 cloves garlic
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt or other coarse salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
10 to 12 oil-cured black olives or Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 small bell pepper (any color), cored and sliced into very thin rings
3 or 4 very thin slices of small red onion, separated into rings
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
10 to 12 medium-sized basil leaves
1 small cucumber

Cut baguette in half horizontally. Pull out some of the insides to create a somewhat hollowed-out loaf (reserve pulled-out bread for another use). With mortar and pestle, pound together anchovies, garlic and salt until smooth. Add oil and mustard; blend well with a fork. Brush the cut sides of the bread with oil mixture, using about half or a little more of the mixture. Scatter the olives over the bottom half of the bread. Arrange bell pepper over the olives; top with onion and tomato slices. Drizzle remaining oil mixture over tomatoes; grind black pepper to taste over tomatoes. Arrange basil on top of tomatoes. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise; use a spoon to scrape out and discard the seedy core. Slice cucumber halves about 1⁄8 inch thick, then arrange on top of the basil. Place top half of the bread in place; cut loaf into 2 shorter halves. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap; place in refrigerator. Set a baking dish on top of the sandwich halves, then pile a few heavy cans or a brick on the baking dish to weight the sandwich. Refrigerate, weighted, for at least 2 hours, or as long as 8 hours. Cut each half into two pieces before serving.

Variations:
This sandwich is very versatile and adapts well to other ingredients. Try replacing the basil with watercress or arugula (or use one of these in addition to the basil). Sliced radishes add nice color and crunch; a sprinkle of capers enlivens the taste and is a nice addition if you don’t use the anchovies. For a more substantial sandwich, drain a can of oil-packed tuna and flake it over the bell pepper layer, or add a layer of sliced or crumbled hard-cooked egg (be sure to keep these versions cold until served).

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