By Olivia Bitetti | Recipes by Chef Barbara Moul | Photography by Kimberly Cook
If your idea of a salad is iceberg lettuce with oil and vinegar, let us teach you the proper, mouth-watering way to celebrate National Salad Month. Let go of the preconceived notion of what constitutes a leafy dish — or lack thereof. If you preface “salad” with fruit, chicken, potato, or tomato mozzarella, lettuce is often missing from the list of ingredients. Don’t be afraid to try unusual pairings, like balsamic glaze drizzled over fruit (after all, tomatoes are fruit you know) or a jalapeño-infused dressing over crisp veggies. Chef Barbara Moul of Simply Delectable, a personal chef service, has dished up three unconventional salads sure to make your taste buds spring up for the season.
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• 1 large tomato, ripe
• 1/4 pound watermelon, seedless
• 1/8 pound Mozzarella cheese, fresh — buffalo or bocconcini
• 1 basil, fresh, bunch
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, extra virgin
PREP: For the balsamic drizzle, reduce the balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a pan on medium heat until reduced by half. Slice cheese, tomatoes, and watermelon and layer on a plate to create an appealing presentation. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and some olive oil. Top with a pinch of sea salt. Chef Moul used sea salt from Seneca Salt Company made locally in Penn Yan, NY. This dish can also be prepared in adorable bite-size portions on skewers for party appetizers.
• 2 chicken breast halves, bone-in, skin-on (or 3.5-4 cups cooked chicken)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• 5 ounces plain yogurt, nonfat, Greek
• 1 tablespoon dill, fresh, chopped
• 1/2 cup celery, diced
• 1 cup grapes, cut in half
• 1/8 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped and toasted (optional)
• 1/2 lemon
PREP: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on a sheet pan, and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool.
When chicken is cool, remove meat from bones and discard skin and bones. Cut chicken into 3/4-inch pieces. Place in a bowl and add yogurt, dill, celery, grapes, pecans. Squeeze lemon over the mixture, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
Serve over greens or in a wrap or whole grain roll.
• 1 cup almonds, sliced
• Olive oil, splash
• 1/2 cup cilantro
• 1 medium garlic clove
• 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine, or more to taste
• 1/3 cup olive oil, extra virgin
• 8 ounces baby carrot bunches, sliced in half lengthwise
• 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into
2 inch segments
• 1/2 lemon, squeezed over salad
PREP: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, toast the almonds in a large skillet over medium heat in a splash of olive oil along with a big pinch of salt. Let them get deeply golden, remove from heat and set aside.
Make the dressing by combining the cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and salt in a food processor, blender, or hand blender. Drizzle olive oil in while pulsing, continuing until the dressing is a creamy, vibrant green. Taste and adjust to your liking with more salt, garlic, jalapeño, etc.
Salt the boiling water generously, then add the carrots, wait 15 seconds and add the asparagus. Depending on the actual thickness of your carrots and asparagus, cook for about 30-60 more seconds; you want the vegetables to retain some structure and bite. Drain and immediately run under cold water to stop cooking. Spin dry in a salad spinner.
In a large bowl, toss vegetables with a generous splash of dressing. Then add 2/3 of the toasted almonds, and gently toss again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Squeeze lemon over top just before serving and sprinkle with remaining almonds.
Meet the Chef:
Chef Barbara Moul is a personal chef in Syracuse who caters to small, in-home parties ranging from a romantic evening for two or a get-together for 12. She customizes menus based on any diet restrictions or special requirements for each client. Chef Moul grocery shops and prepares 20-40 meals, and then labels and packages them to be frozen and used for your convenience. For more on Chef Moul visit www.simplydelectable.us.
Tips from Chef Barbara:
• Squeeze a lemon into a strainer over a dish to catch any pulp or seeds
• Use your thumb to cover the spout of olive oil to control the release
• Grow your herbs in pots to always have fresh ingredients on hand
• Buy low or no sodium canned products to control the salt to your taste and avoid high sodium intake
• Use a glass to cut out circular shaped items i.e. watermelon
• Never throw away scraps i.e. extra watermelon pieces to use in fruit salad
• Freeze any extra wine into ice cube trays to use them for cooking