Asparagus, Cucumber & Rice Salad

This is a most unusual, and delicious, salad!  I once served it to a group of Japanese businessmen at a luncheon I catered, and they gave it rave reviews!  That was the litmus test for me, and this salad was on my catering menu from that day forward. This is a great summer salad, cool, yet satisfying.  A cup of chilled soup, piece of grilled chicken or salmon, and a serving of this salad makes for a perfect hot weather dinner. Serves 6

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup long-grained rice

1 pound of asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber

3 green onions, chopped

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Colorful lettuce and fresh dill sprigs

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the rice, return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.  Fluff with a fork; transfer to a bowl.

Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water until cool, drain well, and pat dry with a paper towel.

Add the asparagus, cucumbers, and green onions to the rice in the bowl.

Combine the Dijon, sugar, vinegar and dry mustard in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Add the chopped dill. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated separately and held for up to one day.). 

Mix the dressing into the salad.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Line a large bowl with the lettuce and mound the salad in the bowl.  Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.

Print Friendly and PDF

"Old Glory" Roasted Potato Salad

Old Glory Potato Salad is red, white, and blue and a bright note on the menu!

Old Glory Potato Salad is red, white, and blue and a bright note on the menu!

It might seem a bit unusual to make a French-style potato salad for an American holiday, but I wanted a salad with colors that would shine through the dressing. I chose to roast the potatoes to retain their color (as a purple potato turns gray when boiled).  The oil and vinegar dressing, far from creamy and heavy, is bright and acidic, pairing beautifully with the richness of the bacon in the salad, making it a great counterpoint to grilled meats and barbecue.  It's best made a day ahead so that the flavors have time to mellow; allow it to come up to room temperature before serving.  4 servings

6 ounces each purple, red, and white potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" pieces

Kosher Salt

1/4 pound bacon

1/4 cup finely-minced shallots

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the potatoes in a large bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees.

Chop the bacon and saute in a small skillet over medium-low heat until the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the shallots and olive oil to the skillet and stir to combine.  Pour over the potatoes in the bowl and toss until well combined and the potatoes are coated with the fat. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.  Roast for 20 minutes, turn the potatoes over with a spatula and return to the oven to roast for 5-10 more minutes, or until tender.

Place the roasted potatoes in a bowl, drizzle the vinegar over the potatoes and toss well.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then stir in the red onion and parsley, tasting and adjusting the salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to marry.  Remove from the refrigerate an hour or two before serving to allow to come up to room temperature. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, adding more oil if it seems dry, more vinegar if it needs more acid.

Print Friendly and PDF