Light and bright summer salad

  • Tue Jul 10th, 2012 7:23pm

<b>FOOD FINDS | </b>By Deanna Duff For the Weekly Herald

When the sunshine arrives, it’s natural to lighten up in the kitchen. Salads utilizing seasonal fruits and vegetables are a summer staple. Chef John Howie, of Seastar and John Howie Steak restaurants, shares some of his show-stopping salad recipes in his new cookbook, “Passion &Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table.”

This salad is one of Howie’s self-professed favorites. “It combines sweet-tart peaches and a tangy mustard dressing with a slightly-charred candied almond – the blend of flavors and textures is amazing,” says Howie. Over 350 home cooks tested the recipes, so rest assured your at-home version will look restaurant ready.

For added charm, “It’s best when sitting out on your patio or deck waiting for the sun to set and sipping a nice glass of (Washington state’s) McCrea Cellars viognier,” says Howie.

Chef Howie’s Seasonal Greens, Peaches &Haricot Vert Salad

Serves 4

Salad Ingredients

6 cups seasonal greens or baby spinach

6 fluid ounces Sweet &Sour Mustard Dressing (recipe below)

½ cup haricot verts (baby green beans), blanched al dente and sliced in half diagonally

¼ cup red onion, julienne sliced

¾ cup peaches, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick

¼ cup Candied Almonds (recipe below)

Sweet-N-Sour Mustard Dressing Ingredients

Makes 1 cup

½ cup HDL/canola salad oil

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup whole grain mustard

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

¼ teaspoon Tabasco

Dressing directions

1. In a mixer with a whip attachment, combine and blend all the ingredients except for the oil until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly drizzle in the oil until well mixed. Transfer, label and store refrigerated until needed.

Candied Almonds Ingredients

Makes ½ cup

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup sliced raw almonds

Candied Almond directions

1. Heat almonds and sugar in a non-stick saute pan over a medium-low heat until the sugar caramelizes and the almonds are toasted (some charring is OK).

2. Transfer candied almonds onto a sheet pan. Gently work almonds with a wood spoon to avoid breaking almonds into tiny pieces. Use pan spray if needed when spreading them out over the surface of the pan. Let cool just enough to handle. Using your fingers, gently separate sliced almonds into tiny clusters. Transfer, label, wrap and store at room temperature for service.

Salad directions

1. In a mixing bowl, gently toss to coat the greens, dressing, haricot verts, peaches and onions.

2. Transfer and mound the greens mix onto a chilled salad plate.

3. Garnish with candied almonds. Serve.