A new entree salad for Spring

I have a fairly new salad cookbook and was looking through it for inspiration.  I found an entree salad that screamed spring – it included asparagus and smoked salmon.  These are two things we love and two things that feel springy.  I tweaked it a bit and served it for dinner.  A definite hit and do-over!

Smoked salmon and asparagus salad

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB minced tarragon
  • 1 package salad greens of your choice
  • asparagus (tough ends broken off and blanched in salted water for 2 – 3 minutes, then chilled)
  • 1/2 lb smoked salmon
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced

Whisk together half and half, vinegar, lemon juice and tarragon.  (Cream will curdle and thicken.)  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Top each plate with greens and asparagus.  Spread smoked salmon across veggies and top with shallot.  Pour dressing over salad and serve.



Saturday night special

Last week I was catching up on some of my DVRed Barefoot Contessa shows when we saw her make homemade onion rings.  I could see my husband’s enthusiasm level as he watched so we decided to try making onion rings last night to go with our steaks on the grill.  Wow!  They were fabulous and not too difficult.  Two key ingredients that you must have.  First you need a deep heavy pan – we used an iron Dutch oven.  Ina has a beautiful Le Creuset one that I am lusting for but the one we had worked fine.  Second, you need a candy thermometer.  My husband was watching the temperature and it is really interesting to see how quickly it fluctuates as you add onions to the oil.  He remarked that he didn’t see how you would have any idea whether or not you had the right temperature without it.   I made a few changes to Ina’s recipe – here is what we did:

Homemade Onion Rings

  • 2 spanish onions, peeled and sliced about 3/4 inch thick and pulled apart into rings
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1 quart vegetable oil
  • salt, pepper and paprika

Soak onion rings in buttermilk and fresh ground pepper in a large bowl for 30 – 60 minutes before frying.

Combine flour, cornmeal and panko in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Stir in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp paprika.  Heat oil in a deep pan to 350.  Using tongs, dredge rings in flour mixture and then fry in small batches in hot oil.  (When temperature is 350 they take about 2 – 3 minutes.)  Remove from oil to a baking sheet covered in paper towels and sprinkle with salt while still hot.

Onion rings can be cooked ahead and kept hot in a 200 degree oven.

My husband wasn’t sure what to do with the oil so we looked up Dispose of oil on Google.  (I was a little alarmed when the autofill defaulted to dispose of a dead body but I kept going).  The best advice we found was to pour it into a container and freeze it and then throw the whole thing away.  We are also conducting an experiment – we froze the leftover onion rings and are going to see how well they reheat.  I’ll keep you posted.

With our grilled steak and onion rings I made a salad with mache lettuce and a delicious dressing:

Raspberry Balsamic dressing

  • 1 minced shallot
  • 4 TB good olive oil
  • 1 TB raspberry balsamic vinegar

Toss in a jar and pour over greens (I used mache).  Top with some toasted pecans and warm goat cheese.

Here is our fabulous Saturday night dinner:

Grilled steak with homemade onion rings and salad with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette

Grilled steak with homemade onion rings and salad with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette