Food

Hearty and Meaty Summer Salads

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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It feels like just yesterday we were wishing each other Happy New Year and now we are staring at the tail end of summer. Families are coming back from vacation; back-to-school prep has to be done; and the heat has reached incendiary levels. So, cooking a hot meal every day has been placed on the back burner. Pardon the pun. But you still have to eat. Cue: hearty salads.

Leafy greens make a gorgeous and tasty bed atop which you can place slices of cooked meat or pieces of seafood. But if you crave something a little more filling, try using grains, lentils, local starches, or even roasted root veggies as your base.

Bulgur is a tasty grain that's easy to prepare and has an appealing nutty flavour. It can easily carry its weight against robust flavours; no surprise that it's an essential ingredient for tabbouleh. Add slices of marinated grilled chicken to prepared bulgur tossed with diced tomatoes, chopped parsley and corn. Or, for a Mediterranean-inspired dish subsitute corn for sultanas and pomegrantaes and add lots of quick-pickled onions.

Couscous, whether Israeli or regular, is excellent for salads. Enjoy with roasted eggplant, carrot and slices of grilled skirt steak for a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed straight from the fridge. Who says a salad can't be for a special occasion? Elevate your couscous salad by using lamb instead of steak.

Do you need a dish that can retain its integrity the next day so that you're able to have leftovers for lunch? Then lentils should be your base. Add some lemon juice to the salted boiling water in which you'll cook your lentils to add bright acidic notes. Mix with caramelised onions, chickpeas, and top with grilled shrimp for a fantastic meal.

Our island is blessed with various starches and ground provisions that can be used in contemporary ways to make salads. Think of the versatility of breadfruit, sweet potato and yam and how great these starches would be for salads. Whether you're doing a Caribbean twist on a classic like Niçoise, or charting new territory, skip the Irish, fingerling and new potatoes and go for something that will have your guests begging for the recipe.

Roasted root vegetables like beets and carrots make great salads. Yes, it's easy just to add some delicious crumbled feta or goat cheese and call it a day. However, grilled salmon is an excellent protein to add to your roasted veggies. You can make a sheet pan dinner (the modern version of a one-pot meal) and have a hearty meal ready without having to stay in the kitchen longer than the time it takes to prep.


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