One of my favorite parts about the holiday season and cooler weather isn’t necessarily the turn of embers and more hearty meat stews. These things are good, sure, but what I really can’t wait to eat are the most hearty salads – bitter and robust lettuce, dressed in citrus dressings and preferably topped with autumn fruits like persimmons. , pomegranates and sticky dates.

Fortunately, we have a few new recipes like this for you on our cooking site. These are not ordinary salads, however; they are by David Tanis. The venerable Chez Panisse chef and New York Times food columnist is now living in Los Angeles to open his new restaurant, Lulu, at the Hammer Museum. I have spent several days over the past few months cooking with Tanis, and these recipes are the result of those sessions.

Tanis starts a persimmon and pomegranate salad not with lettuce but with these fruits, dressing them generously in Meyer lemon juice and olive oil and seasoning confidently with salt and pepper. He then slides leaves of Treviso and Castelfranco lettuce into the juice / vinaigrette until well coated. Sweet, bitter, tangy – it’s the perfect salad for this time of year that is eaten like a main course.

Likewise, he begins a salad of radish with lime and Parmesan by seasoning the mild radishes with lime before incorporating ripe arugula, more peppery and more robust than its baby form so often used. The bitter lime is a wonderful surprise in this salad where the typical lemon can be used. Parmesan shavings add richness and salt to temper the biting citrus.

And for a mushroom “salad”, he first grills plates of king oyster mushrooms before covering them with crispy wood ear mushrooms, cooked until warmed up. The whole thing is dressed simply with minced garlic and cilantro, which mix with olive oil to make its own dressing.

The success of each dish largely depends on the quality of the produce you buy, so take a stroll through the farmer’s market this week and pick the best specimens you can find. Each dish takes 15 minutes or less to complete and pairs well with virtually any protein you love. These are substantial – but bright – salads that you’ll be thankful for amid bigger holiday dishes this week and through the end of the year.

Persimmon and pomegranate salad with bitter lettuce

The salad proportions are whatever you want them to be, so if you like a piece of fruit or lettuce more or less, do that. You can also use any type of citrus here, whatever you have on hand. If you don’t have lettuce, the fruit makes a great salad on its own with a few mint leaves added. It would be great with chopped fennel too.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Radish salad with lime and parmesan

It’s good to make salads with things you wouldn’t normally do, like this one which is mostly radish. (Think of a salad as some sort of seasoned and seasoned vegetable matter and you’ll broaden your horizons.) It’s excellent on its own or served with a piece of roast chicken.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

A salad with lettuce and radishes

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

King Oyster and Wood Ear Mushrooms with Coriander Parsley

The counter-play between the plump oyster mushrooms and the thin, crunchy wooden ear mushrooms makes for an enthralling dish. Simple parsley, traditionally a mixture of chopped parsley and garlic, is made here with cilantro and brightens hearty mushrooms. Serve on its own as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish with pork chops, roast beef or game.
Get the recipe.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Lots of cooked mushrooms on a plate

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


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