Summer Salads

On the menu:

Chopped Summer Salad
Rice Salad with Shrimp

Chopped Summer Salad

This recipe is a cross between a Spanish chopped salad called pipirrana, and djoban salatasi, the classic Turkish shepherd's salad. The salad may be enriched by the addition of chopped ham, or canned tuna or anchovies and hard boiled eggs. For a more Middle Eastern touch top it with feta cheese and olives.

If you should want to assemble this salad a few hours ahead of time, combine all of the ingredients except the tomatoes in a bowl and store in the refrigerator, then add the room temperature tomatoes at the last minute. Dress the salad after adding the tomatoes and let it rest for 15 minutes to develop the flavors. Then, depending upon whether you want to be in Spain or Turkey, top with the garnishes of your choice.

Serves 6


2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped or 1 English cucumber, seeded
1 small red onion, finely minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed, minced
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon finely minced chili pepper, optional
1 head romaine, chopped

For the Vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish options:
1/2 cup oil cured black olives
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
2 to 4 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup diced ham (prosciutto would also be nice)
6-8 ounces canned tuna, broken into chunks

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the chopped vegetables in a bowl.
  2. Toss with vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place in a serving bowl and top with olives and the garnishes of your choice.

Nutrition Facts (includes a tablespoon of vinaigrette per person):

Calories: 200
Fat: 16 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Sodium: 160 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
Protein: 3 grams
% calories from fat: 72%
% calories from saturated fat: 9%

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Rice Salad with Shrimp

In the summertime, throughout the Mediterranean, chilled rice salads appear on the table, a substantial but not heavy dish. In Spain and Portugal mayonnaise is often used for the dressing, but oil and vinegar are equally popular, and widely used in Italy too. I prefer the oil and vinegar or oil and lemon dressing as it is less rich and can stay out in the hot sun without spoiling. Grain salads are an ideal neutral base to show off the more flavorful and dramatic shellfish, and are perfect for a summer lunch. You may use a medley of cooked shellfish, not just shrimp. Cooked mussels and squid also will work well. And canned tuna is a classic topping. I prefer to use basmati rice for salads as it holds its texture for a long time without breaking down.

Serves 4


1 cup long grain rice, preferably basmati
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette:
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mild red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped fennel or celery
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

For the shrimp:
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 or more teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 or 2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

tomato wedges

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the rice, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the water is just absorbed, and the rice is tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the warm rice to a bowl. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss well. When the rice has cooled, fold in the fennel or celery, the onion and chopped parsley and tarragon and toss again.
  4. To cook the shrimp, warm olive oil in a sauté pan over moderate heat. Add garlic, hot pepper flakes and paprika and cook 1 minute. Add shrimp, lemon juice, stir well and sauté quickly over high heat, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. At serving time, spoon a mound of seasoned rice salad on each of 4 plates. Top with the dressed shellfish and drizzle with the last of the vinaigrette. Or arrange on a single large platter, family style.
  6. Garnish with tomato wedges, if desired.

Note: If you want to take this salad South of the Border, omit fennel, add 1 cup cooked fresh corn, 1/2 cup diced bell pepper or poblanos and use chopped cilantro instead of tarragon and parsley. Garnish with tomato wedges and sliced avocado.

Note: You can also make this with cooked farro or cracked wheat.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 615
Fat: 36 grams
Saturated Fat: 5 grams
Sodium: 974 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 47 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
Protein: 28 grams
% calories from fat: 52%
% calories from saturated fat: 8%

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