Lettuce in Your Kitchen: Flavorful And Unexpected Main-Dish Salads And Dressings

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9780688160623: Lettuce in Your Kitchen: Flavorful And Unexpected Main-Dish Salads And Dressings
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Provides an introduction to salads and their ingredients, and offers a variety of recipes

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If you have a thing for lettuce, a craving for greens, a garden begging to be eaten, or just a plain and simple passion for salads, Lettuce in Your Kitchen is the book for you. Coauthors Chris Schlesinger and John "Doc" Willoughby have written what might be the definitive volume on salads. Everything from the history of greens--they appear in Egyptian tomb drawings that are at least 4,500 years old--to a myriad of recipes is included. And these aren't iceberg-lettuce salads smothered in Thousand Island dressing, either. The authors believe in the full-meal deal in which salads can be appetizer, entree, or even dessert.

How about a Watercress and Grilled Chicken Salad with Mangoes and Grapes livened up with a curry-lime vinaigrette? Chris and Doc are masters of juxtaposition and tend to be more adventurous than classicists like Alice Waters. Try the Bitter Greens with Fiery Seared Squid, or Escarole with Papayas and Fried Plantains for a culinary experience not soon to be forgotten. Their approach isn't always as dramatic. There is an excellent chapter on simple salads, and gardeners looking for new ideas in late summer will appreciate the chapter on tomatoes. The most refreshing declaration the authors make is that there are no hard and fast rules in making salads. They openly encourage experimentation and substitution from the outset, and 100 different dressing recipes provide an exponential level of combinations. The ingredients guide references greens and other major ingredients, and shows what can be substituted in those desperate moments when arugula just can't be found. This is the third book from Chris and Doc. Their earlier works, Big Flavors of the Hot Sun and The Thrill of the Grill were both critically and popularly acclaimed, and Lettuce in Your Kitchen continues their tradition of bold, innovative cookbooks. --Mark O. Howerton

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Aromatic Watercress, Tomato, and Herb Salad
with Ginger-Lemongrass Vinaigrette

I really like the combination of garden-ripe tomatoes and whole herb leaves. And since the use of whole herbs is very typical of Asian cuisines, why not combine these simple ingredients with an Asian-style dressing? When preparing the lemongrass, make sure that you use only the tender core that resides inside the bottom third of the stalk; the rest is too fibrous to eat. This dressing would also be great with any cold Asian noodle dish, as a marinade for cucumbers, or as a sauce for cold roast chicken.

For the dressing:
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 to 6 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons minced inner stalk from bottom 1/3 of the stalk of lemongrass
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and freshly cracked white pepper to taste (or substitute black pepper)

For the salad:
2 bunches watercress, trimmed, washed, and dried
1/2 cup loosely packed whole cilantro leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed whole mint leaves
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 cucumber, peeled if you want, sliced into very thin rounds

1. In a medium bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until very well blended.

2. In a large bowl, combine the watercress, cilantro, mint, tomato quarters, and cucumber. Stir the dressing well, add just enough to moisten the salad ingredients (there will be some dressing left over), toss to coat, and serve.

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9780688145644: Lettuce in Your Kitchen: Flavorful And Unexpected Main-Dish Salads And Dressings

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ISBN 10:  0688145647 ISBN 13:  9780688145644
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks, 1996
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