Salad as the Main Course

My favorite meal is a fresh salad, transformed to a main course with the addition of a grilled, or roasted, or sauteed piece of meat or seafood. This recipe is a more sophisticated version, with colorful and tasty endive taking the place of standard greens.

Salmon is a great go-to for this dish. If you’re not fond of the taste, or it isn’t readily available, there are several delicious options. Mahi-mahi or rockfish work well, as will chicken breast, or even scallops. The goal is the freshness of the salad combined with the hearty flavor of your meat, poultry or seafood.

Ingredients

3 heads red Belgian endive
3 heads Belgian endive
2 crisp and juicy apples
Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
2 cups (2-3 oz.) of frisée and/or arugula greens, torn to bite-size
1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces, toasted
6 tbsp. white vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)
1 tsp. finely cut chives
4 fillets of a firm fish, e.g., salmon, mahi mahi, or rockfish

White vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 shallot, peeled and minced
2 tsp. honey (optional)
1 pinch finely chopped garlic
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Salad
Wash and dry endive and apples. Cut endives lengthwise into julienne strips. Slice apples and cut into julienne strips. (If made in advance, you can preserve the color of the apple with a spritz of lemon juice.) Tear the frisée and/or arugula greens into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

White balsamic vinaigrette dressing
In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Salmon: Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Score skin and season fish with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down in hot oil. Cook until skin is crispy, shaking pan to prevent fish from sticking. Turn fish over and continue cooking until medium rare. Remove and keep warm. (Alternatively, salmon may be grilled or baked.)

In a large bowl, combine endives, apples, greens, walnuts and vinaigrette, tossing gently. Season to taste and center on plate. Top the salad serving with one fillet each and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Bœuf a la Bourguignon

First, how does one pronounce that impossible looking name? “Bœuf,” French for “beef,” sounds like a cross between “bif” and “buff.” Say it quickly and you’ll be close enough. “Bourguignon” is bu̇r-gēn-ˈyȯn. Just remember that the letters “g-n” are pronounced in French as though they were “n-y.”

But, you don’t need to pronounce it to love it. This is the dish Julia Child described as”…certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” This version is considerably simpler than that in Julia’s landmark book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Remember to use a good wine—a bad wine doesn’t improve with cooking.

This recipe can be adapted for a slow-cooker. Before loading up the pot, be sure to brown the ingredients as noted here. All ingredients can be added at the beginning except the mushrooms, which should be added at the end.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef rump roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces button mushrooms (trimmed), halved or quartered if large
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 5 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or oven-safe pot with a tight fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and pearl onions. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes, then set aside.
  3. Season beef generously with salt and pepper and add to pot. In batches, brown beef on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per batch (adding up to 1 tablespoon oil per batch, if needed); transfer to plate.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add bacon and chopped onion. Cook over medium heat until brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  7. Return beef to pot; add wine, broth, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer pot to oven; cook 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Add carrots and cook until meat is very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more, adding mushrooms 15 minutes before end of cooking.
  9. Stir butter into stew and serve topped with parsley.

Serve spooned over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes, or even a baguette.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’ version of Julia Child’s quintessential recipe. Wine photo by Lefteris kallergis on Unsplash. Food photo by unknown.