14 July 2010
Paper Chef 54 – Super Supper Salad
This past weekend was Paper Chef weekend. The ingredients, selected by the host Karen of Prospect: The Pantry, were raspberries, beans (any kind), zucchini, and cereal grains. I forgot about this entirely until late Monday, so figured I’d have to pass again. But then when my CSA box included green beans AND squashes (zucchini and others), plus raspberries are in season at the farmer’s market – well, I just had to pull together a last minute entry. I can’t think of a clever name, so I’ll just give the ingredients and directions.
Herbed Grains and Green Beans
1 cup (before cooking) of your favorite grain mix
4oz (~115 gr) green beans, cut into pieces
8 oz (~225 g) squash, cut into chunks
1 garlic scape, chopped
1 tab olive oil
1 medium sized (~5 oz) tomato
2 to 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
fresh raspberries (optional)
1 Tab olive oil
2 Tab raspberry vinegar
1 fresh raspberry (or more) (which you will squash)
leaves torn from a sprig of fresh thyme
leaves torn from a sprig of fresh oregano
fresh basil (at least 4 big leaves)
sprig of fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic (chopped fine or squashed through a garlic press)
1. Prepare the grains as directed. (I used a brown rice – daikon radish seed – black barley mix from Trader Joe’s. It takes about 35 minutes to cook. In the spirit of full disclosure and in conflict with the ingredients list above, it’s not my favorite grain mix, but it’s what I had on hand!)
2. While the grain are cooking, toss the green beans, squash, and garlic scapes with olive oil in a baking dish. Roast them in a preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes. (I don’t like the smell of roasting chopped garlic, but the scape added a nice garlicky flavor without that smell.)
3. As they roast and the grains cook, chop the tomato roughly and toss with some salt in your serving bowl.
4. Mix up the dressing: finely chop all the herbs together, then stir into the oil and vinegar mixture. Stir in the minced garlic and 1 raspberry (or more if you prefer) that you squash up as you stir. (Hey, maybe I should call this “grains, beans, squash, and squashed raspberries”! :^)
5. When the roasted vegetables come out of the oven, toss them with the tomato, crumbled feta, and dressing. By doing this while the vegetables are still warm, the tomato and feta will get softened a bit and release some more juices.
6. When the grains are ready, stir them in. Serve when you’re ready to eat (this salad will taste great warm or cold) – and top with a few more raspberries so you feel more in the spirit of the challenge!
I really liked the salad, and my husband praised it as well. If I were to change anything, I might use a little less dressing – or, alternatively, more green beans and squash and perhaps tomato. I used all the beans I had, but the grains easily could have stood up to double the amount. The fresh herbs were a fabulous addition – I could detect them in various bites, yet the flavors all melded so well that it wasn’t a distraction but a nice burst of tastiness. (As an aside, one of the things I really appreciate about my new CSA this year is that we can take small amounts of all the herbs she has available, not just a big clump of one variety.)
I added some fresh raspberries on top because it felt like a bit of a cheat to just resort to raspberry vinegar. They were a pleasant addition, but really felt like an add-on. I intended to add some lightly toasted pine nuts (the ones I currently have on hand don’t provoke pine mouth!) but totally forgot since I was running late and we needed to get the middle child to his baseball game. Maybe the combination of nuts and berries would feel more integral.
We had this salad with the first bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches of the season – using lettuce and a tomato from the farm share, bacon from a local farm (Ernst Farms), and naturally leavened bread that my husband makes. Yum! What a delightful summer supper!
If you’re keeping score, all ingredients in the salad were local except for the grains mix, the olive oil, vinegar, and salt. And all the local ingredients except the raspberries (and including the flowers in the first photo) are from Capella Farm (our CSA)!
(And speaking of score, middle son hit two triples and a double at the game for at least 4 RBIs. His bat was on fire! Their team won the game, by a score of 16-6.)