One of the best features in this book is that almost every recipe includes multiple variations. For instance, a recipe for Lemon-Garlic Roast Salmon on New Potatoes also offers the variation of Chutney Roast Fish.
Other features, like "Building a Soup," provide basic templates for recipes, teaching you to improvise with your ingredients.
Tidbits & sidebars throughout the book ("Pasta Water: The Hidden Sauce," "Sally's New Years Resolution," etc.) make reading it cover-to-cover a pleasure.
Just after receiving this book, tomatoes hit their peak at our CSA, and we couldn't resist the photo for Ripe Tomato Stacks with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella.
This salad is a bit fussier than salads we typically make. On most nights, we whip up a salad dressing (typically with at least three of the following ingredients: oil, vinegar, mustard, shallots, honey, salt & pepper). Simple but satisfying.
This salad is a wonderful variation on a caprese salad, adding garlic, red pepper flakes, currants, red onion and pine nuts. We made one substitution, using golden raisins in place of currants. The results are not only delicious but also stunning on the plate -- you almost hate to cut into it once assembled.
The only drawback to this recipe is that it is very ingredient heavy (7 for the dressing and 3 for the salad, not counting salt & pepper), but the the resulting salad justifies the investment of ingredients. Perhaps it's not an "everyday" salad, but it would be phenomenal for a dinner party.
What are your favorite salads? Have salad recipes that you use again and again? We'd love to hear about them.
(this photo: Guidepost Magazine)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tightly-packed tablespoons fresh basil leaves, torn
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
5 medium ripe tomatoes
1 pound fresh mozzarella packed in liquid, sliced 1/2 inch thick
About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion, currants and salt to taste.
2. Let the mixture stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Just before assembling the dish, stir in the basil and all but 1/4 cup of the pine nuts.
4. Core the tomatoes. Check that each is stable when placed cored side down on a plate. (The idea behind this dish is that each tomato will be sliced horizontally and layered with cheese and seasonings so that it looks whole again on the plate. Keep each tomato's slices in order for easy assembly.)
5. Cut each tomato horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the bottom slice of each tomato on a serving platter.
6. Season them with a little salt, then top each with a slice of cheese.
7. Season the cheese with a tablespoon or so of the onion mixture. Continue the layers until all the tomatoes are reassembled.
8. To finish the dish, sprinkle the tomatoes with the reserved pine nuts, the olive oil and any leftover onion mixture. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4 as main dish
Serves 6-8 as a starter