crispy brussels sprout salad

2 salads on table

salad finalWe love brussels sprouts in our house: shaved raw in a mustard vinaigrette, roasted with apples, sauteed with shallots in a hash, you name it. And now we can add crispy in a salad to that list. I actually made the mistake of making this as a starter before a big meal, not realizing a) how filling it would be and b) how much we’d love it that anything coming after would pale in comparison. So consider yourself warned: this will be your new favorite go-to salad entree. Next time I may even add a piece of plain grilled fish or shrimp on top.

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rina’s kale salad with avocado dressing

kale saladA few weeks ago in Montauk my friend Rina was raving about the way she makes kale salad — “just massage avocados into it, and that’s your dressing!” — so I obviously had to try it for myself. She was right to rave; it was delicious. B loved it too. In fact I think he finished his plate before me, which is very unusual in our house.

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strawberry, pea, almond salad

final saladPeas really don’t get the love they deserve. I always see them in the market and think – huh, peas, I should eat you. But what can I put you with to make you a little more interesting? Enter the latest issue of Bon Appetit, which I read on the plane ride home from vacation, in which I found this recipe that looked as delicious as it did easy. The latter, easy, was the key this week, since getting back into the routine after two weeks off has been a bit harder than I anticipated.

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farro salad with chickpeas + leeks

farro finalI don’t know about you, but lunch is always the hardest meal for me to figure out each day. I know I’m on a slightly different schedule than most of you and am craving slightly different food, but I’ll venture a guess that we all want a few of the same things out of our high-noon (or 10 a.m., 2 p.m., whatever time) feeding.

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arugula, fennel, grapefruit + pine nuts salad

arugula grapefruit saladFor my dinner party last weekend I wanted a light salad course — something easy to assemble, but also healthy and refreshing — to come before the main course (cioppino, a fish stew), so I came up with this combination. Massaging the arugula in olive oil and lemon takes the bite out of it and also gives it a nice, smooth texture. Besides: what’s cooking without getting your hands a little dirty?

Since I was busy prepping the stew, I didn’t have time to toast the pine nuts, but I bet that would add a lot more flavor. I’d also shave the fennel next time, instead of chopping — so I’m moving that good ‘ol mandoline back to the top of my TV Dinner shopping list.

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mango, cucumber, jicama salad (dinner party, part 3)

salad in bowlAs soon as the snow started falling last Friday night I was dreaming about the beach. Fine, the food at the beach – Rockaway Taco to be exact — and their famous salad served in a ziploc bag. It is so simple and divine — long spears of cucumber, mango and jicama swimming in a citrus chile dressing. I thought I could recreate it in the same vein and serve it in individual mason jars — I’m working on my dinner party presentation here — but what seemed cute and creative just didn’t seem practical. So I chopped the veggies smaller, added pomegranate seeds, and plated it with the main course.

It is so easy to make and looks so festive next to the arroz verde (green rice) and fish tacos — don’tcha think?!

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shaved brussels sprout salad

brussels salad final

This is the most delicious, most simple, most I-look-fancy-but-I’m-really-not salad.

And how gorgeous are those salad plates? This was our first time using them. I am so in love.

For the record I wasn’t going to serve bread of any kind at this meal, but since we already had a few drinks I called an audible and added a rando package of garlic croutons I had stashed in the cupboard — needed some carbs to soak up some of the tequila.

I’m going to make this another night as an entree, perhaps with a lovely piece of grilled fish on top.

RECIPE brussels salad