Three fresh, local picks.
WRITTEN BY ANN LINDEMANN
Garden-fresh salads are powerhouses of nutritious ingredients. And eating them is a perfect way to enjoy all the wonderful produce that's in season now. Choose ripe fruit, fragrant herbs, and crisp greens from your garden, a farmers' market (see our listing in this edition), Great Basin Community Food Co-op in Reno, Whole Foods Market in Reno, or other good local sources. The following selections are not your typical green-leaf plates. Packed with flavor and a variety of ingredients, these easy-to-prepare picks are sure to be a hit this summer.
Café Girasole's Famous Field of Greens Salad
(courtesy of Leslie Dupont, chef/owner of Café Girasole in Gardnerville, Nev. Serves 4)
Photos courtesy of Howard Hawk and Chris Stowell/West Shore Cafe
1 red bell pepper
1/3 purple onion, sliced thinly
2 cups mixed greens
½ cup gorgonzola crumbled blue cheese
½ cucumber, scored and sliced
¼ cup candied pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup fresh blackberries
Marionberry dressing (available for sale at Café Girasole, Gardnerville, Nev.)
In a bowl, toss salad mix with Café Girasole's marionberry dressing (about 4 ounces). Plate salad on favorite platter. Top with all ingredients, including bell pepper, gorgonzola, dried cranberries, cucumbers, candied pecans, fresh blackberries, and red onion. Enjoy with a nice glass of merlot! Make the salad at home or enjoy at Café Girasole, 1483 Hwy. 395, Gardnerville, Nev. For details, call 775-782-3314.
West Shore Café Signature Crab and Avocado Summer Salad
(courtesy of West Shore Café, Homewood, Calif. Serves 1)
½ peeled avocado per person
2 ounces Dungeness crab meat
1/3 cup frisée
4 – 5 grapefruit sections, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup grapefruit juice
2 cups orange juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
¼ cup honey
¼ cup sugar
4 cloves garlic
2 shallots, minced
3 tablespoons dry mustard
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Several pinches salt and pepper
Blend all items except oil together for 1 minute. Slowly drizzle oil into blending mixture until incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
Toss crab in vinaigrette dressing and fill avocado half. Top with frisée and drizzle with additional vinaigrette. Garnish with 4 or 5 peeled grapefruit sections. Make the salad at home or enjoy at West Shore Café, 5160 W. Lake Blvd., Homewood, Calif. For details, call 530-525-5200 or visit www.Westshorecafe.com.
Kale Salad with Toasted Parmesan
(courtesy of Lara Ritchie, Nothing To It Culinary School, Reno, Nev. Serves 6)
1 bunch Lacinato kale, cut into ½-inch ribbons (about 4 to 5 cups)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shaved on microplane
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of Marash pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
In a medium bowl, toss together cheese and flour. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese in skillet. Cook until cheese is melted, but not firm, about 2 minutes. The Parmigiano will not brown; it will remain light in color.
Using spatula, turn cheese and cook on other side for 30 seconds more. Remove cheese from pan and place on cookie sheet until cool. Repeat with rest of cheese. Once toasted and cooled, break into smaller pieces.
Using a mortar and pestle or knife, pound or mince the garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt into paste. Transfer garlic to small bowl. Add 1/8 cup cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss well (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves). Then just before serving, toss in remaining shaved cheese and broken pieces of toasted Parmesan and enjoy!
Make the salad at home or enjoy at Nothing To It Culinary School Deli at 225 Crummer Lane, Reno. For details, call 775-826-2628 or visit www.Nothingtoit.com.