Friday, April 15, 2011

SALAD AS A MEAL: Four week challenge recap

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Salad as a Meal challenge and having the opportunity to connect with the other bloggers who are wonderful food-loving writers. I'll list the links to their food blogs at the end of this post. Though the end draws nigh, I am not sad because I'll continue to use this amazing cookbook and blog about the recipes.  My favorite recipes to date have been the Vietnamese Chicken, Socca and the Potato Galette. I was most surprised with how filling the Rancho Salad is and that I took a liking to peas because of the Spring Salad. There's a dozen more recipes I intend to make throughout the summer using herbs and vegetables from our garden. Watch for future Salad as a Meal blogs, but for now, I have an idea.... read below to learn what the next round of blogging entails.  

 Thanks everyone for following and commenting. And don't forget, Sunday April 17,  I'll be posting the final winner of a copy of Salad as a Meal. Good luck!

And the winner is.... Deborah Thompson

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Good Narrative. Good Recipes.

I love stories. Especially when they involve food and/or travel. In my opinion, a good cookbook MUST have a good story behind it.  If it doesn't, I lose interest in everything about it, including the recipes.  One thing I'm most fond about Patricia Wells's cookbooks is their readability. She's a fine story teller and goes to length to include the history or background of a dish. Her opening narratives are welcoming, as if she is having you to dinner, yet still read like fine prose. Not what one might expect from your average cookbook, but something I've come to appreciate and admire about hers.  

I've been enamored with Patricia Wells's cookbooks for the past decade. They've taught me a lot about technique and the reasons why it is important to do things certain ways. Some techniques stick, others... well, let's just say I'm not always good at following directions. But I'm getting better. The first of her books I purchased 14 or 15 years ago was Simply French. I love French cuisine, but let's face it. French cooking comes across rather intimidating, especially to novices.  Wells spent several years in the kitchen of the great, Michelin-laden Chef Joel Robuchon, translating his craft into recipes that can be used in "everyman's" kitchen. This everyman has used every one. Successfully and unsuccessfully. Simply French taught me the processes and principals of cooking, which help make complex recipes more approachable. I read this cookbook years before I ever owned a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. So to my mind, Patricia taught me to cook. I am presently revisiting this cookbook because my culinary skills have significantly evolved since I first bought it. Not to mention, I'm better at following recipes.  I'll probably end up blogging about this.

At Home in Provence, a collection of farmhouse recipes is indeed my favorite of her cookbooks. It squashes that idea that French food should be drowned in oil and heavy sauces. They can be, but not always. The cookbook is loaded with flavorful, aromatic, homey recipes and luscious photography. She also uses an occasional rebellious technique, as far as traditional French cooking goes. My kinda cooking!  Chapters are dedicated to pastas and salads and breads, proving that French cuisine can be relaxed, yet abundantly flavorful. This particular book inspired a series of classes my sister and I will teach this spring and summer at Upper Arlington's Lifelong Learning; one of the country's largest adult enrichment programs. View the link here, if you'd like to register.

One of the more recent additions to my cookbook collection is, Bistro Cooking, which was published way back in 1989 and contains 200+ recipes from bistros and small family run restaurants throughout France. It's a simple, well-written cookbook with recipes that exude the warmth and coziness brought to mind by the word "bistro." I embrace Wells's preference for hearty, homier recipes and this book does not disappoint. I'll be trying my hand at a ratatouille recipe this weekend. The first I'll be making since buying the cookbook, because I have been busy for the past month participating in a cookbook challenge celebrating Patricia Wells's new book, Salad as a Meal. 

I just participated in a month long challenge making at least three recipes per week for four weeks from the Salad as a Meal cookbook (SAAM). I will not go into too much detail here as there are about a dozen blogs just prior to this entry about the extremely fun and gratifying experience that I and seven others were selected to blog about.  Like her other cookbooks, SAAM offers a fun, story-telling narrative with stories about each recipe, where they came from or a little about the region. Overall this cookbook's recipes show a huge range in the definition of salad, with which I wholeheartedly agree after making nearly twenty of them. When it comes to fabulous story telling and darn good recipes Patricia Wells continues to be my culinary hero(ine)!!
SALAD AS A MEAL challenge wrap-up tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Provençal Ham & Cheese Bread - by Mandy Jones

My sister, Mandy (with whom I teach cultural-culinary classes) ended up getting a copy of the Salad as a Meal cookbook and (aside from the socca and chicken salad we made together two weeks ago), her first go at a recipe was the Provençal Ham and Cheese Bread, which has been on my radar from the start. She has so kindly sent over her pictures and comments for blogging purposes.  In her words:

It was a cinch to make...took about 5 minutes to prepare and get into the oven.  I set the time for 25 minutes like the book called for but it took an additional 5-7 minutes longer.   We used low sodium ham because of my diet restriction and it was still yummy, but the lack of extra salty flavor was obvious.  Next time, I'll use regular ham.  The olives gave it a nice kick against the subtle Petit Swiss Cheese. For a little extra zing, my husband Brian added a splash of Tobasco to his piece. Because of its egginess, it seems like a breakfasty type of bread to me. However, I'm eating it for dinner!  And we're drinking a California zin with it... The Prisoner.  OMG...such a heavenly wine. It's so bold, but smooth.  Love, love, love it!  My new fav!!

Thanks Mandy, for participating in the challenge! I will eventually make this bread and will be sure to use regular ham. Also, I believe I saw a picture of a bottle of The Prisoner on one of my fellow blogger's site. Beth- from Dining & Dishing- apparently likes it too.  

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week Four of the Salad as a Meal Challenge: Hummus

I HEART HUMMUS and have made it countless times over the years, so to whip up this recipe was going to be a cinch...   or so I thought. Once again, it was the pilot and not the plane. The recipe is fabulous, but I overloaded the blender with too many chickpeas and realized I didn't have my food processor handy, so it turned out really thick initially. However, after packing it up in containers, taking it home and reprocessing it with the proper blending tools, the hummus turned out DELISH.  Suppose you'll see a theme this week too. I've been on a chick pea kick and made the Socca (chick pea crepe) recipe from Salad as a Meal cookbook.
One thing I can say is that I enjoyed following the recipe for a change. In a decade of experimenting with hummus, I've made really good batches and some awful ones.  In my early hummus making days, I often went too heavy on the garlic but we've remedied that.  Sometimes, in the summer, I make it very lemony. A personal preference. This time I just followed the firections and it turned out traditional and beautifully smooth and tasty. Drizzle a little oil on top with some cilantro. Just add pita. Perfect for dipping. I saved some of the thicker hummus from the early batch to use as a spread on pita pocket sandwiches, which went over well. I'll certainly use this Salad as a Meal recipe as the base for my future hummus endeavors-- of course, adding more lemon at times and possibly adding bits of chopped roasted peppers or garlic.

This is one the recipes several of us latched onto. Click my fellow bloggers names to see how their versions of hummus turned out: Hillary Davis of  MarcheDimanche and our lovely Beth of Dining and Dishing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Socca It To Me: Chick Pea Crepes

Photo: Mandy Jones. All rights reserved.
Socca (chick pea flour crepes) transports me to another time and place. Anyone who has eaten Socca somewhere in the French Riviera will admit the regional specialty can become seriously addicting. I can't imagine a better way to spend an hour than sitting in the Nicoise market with a pile of peppery socca and a goblet of local rose. 

In fact, all I spoke of before our trip to Nice this past December was how I can't wait to have socca. I now chastise myself for waiting almost the entire first week before indulging in some (although I was feasting on other fabulous delicacies- like duck terrine). But, we more than made up for it in the subsequent 2 weeks.  I lived and studied in Nice. Travel to Nice for vacation. Conduct tours through the French Riviera and Provence.  I've eaten socca all over the region and well into Italy. It's not all the same. My favorites remain in Nice.  

Nothing beats a plateful of ragged torn-up bits of socca from Chez Thérésa in the Nice flower market. Her famous crepes are made a few blocks away in the restaurant and carried via bicycle to her fire breathing 50 gallon drum from which she serves eager customers until they run out. Then there's Lou Pilha Leva, tucked in the heart of Old Town, where tourists and locals chow socca and pissiladiere (onion tart) while sitting elbow-to-elbow at picnic tables. It's an authentic street food experience, but the best socca (in my opinion) in Nice, is Chez Pipo, near the marina, where they serve massive soccas 'raked' across the top for extra crispiness. Worth the effort to visit.

Socca is traditionally baked in a huge copper pan in the oven, which is why they aren't commonly made at home. Also, socca are much crispier than regular crepes, therefore no filler required. I would describe them as thin pancakes with crispy (sometimes even burnt) edges and burnt bits in places. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a heavy handed dose of course, ground black pepper.  Let there be socca.

Photo (steel pan): Mandy Jones.
Photo (steel pan): Mandy Jones.
I was excited to see this recipe in Salad as a Meal. Before reading Patricia Wells's description of salad, I might not have ventured to refer to socca as 'salad', but with her expanded definition, I agree this is a light and refreshing meal. No matter how full (or not hungry) I might be, there's always room for socca. I enlisted my sister Mandy, who also has been to Nice, to help whip up a few batches. She and I are teaching a series of cultural-culinary courses at Upper Arlington's Lifelong Learning this spring and The Great Crepe Escape (register online) is our first. Socca is on the menu, so this was good practice. We'll likely use the SAAM recipe in class.

We made several batches in a variety of pans able to withstand 450 degrees in the oven.  The best success came with our regular steel crepe pans, which we heated for 5 minutes in the oven before pouring the batter. KEY--- a sizzling hot pan ensures even cooking.  That's they way they do it in France. We also tried a using less and more batter. Our third batch turned out quite good and we chose to cut the socca neatly into triangles (as the Italian do) rather than tear it apart.

Photo (Paella pan): Shawnie Kelley
As I read the intro to Patricia's recipe, I learned she uses a custom made copper socca pan, about the same size as a paella pan. Light bulb! I have one, so I made a batch in our paella pan, which would have turned out good had there been more batter to make it slightly thicker and pancake-like. Edges crisped up nicely and it tasted OK, despite being too thin. 

Photo (Paella pan): Shawnie Kelley
I've used several socca recipes over time and the Salad as a Meal recipe turns out as tasteful as those you can buy in a Provençal market. It might take trial and error to get them to the proper consistency, but it's a worthy and delicious undertaking... 
 * Find chick pea flour at Whole Foods or Indian grocers, like Patel Brothers on Sawmill Road here in Columbus.

My fellow bloggers who also made socca are Kate Kurtz of Urban Food Producers and Hillary Davis of Dimache Marche, who also made the falafel from the cookbook. It all turned out lovely.... Shelby Kinnaird of DiabeticFoodie blog had to trek far & wide to find chick pea flour, but has joined the Socca Club with a blog offering the most nutritional information of us all. 

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Sunday, April 10, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Salads...

One of my fellow bloggers, Hillary Davis of MarcheDimanche made this recipe and took the mouthwatering pictures. Click here to read what Hillary had to say, but I'm thinking this might be a great recipe to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.

Photo by Hillary Davis. all rights reserved
Poached Turkey Breast Salad
with Lemon, Capers, Cornichons &Mint
My good friend Carol Allen so raved about this cold marinated turkey breast, I had to ask for the recipe! I have  adapted it a bit and find that the simplicity and ease of poaching a whole turkey breast makes it ideal for salads for a crowd. And if you are not a crowd, a portion of the poached turkey can be sliced thinly and dressed while the rest can be cubed and used in any recipe calling for poached or roasted chicken. Serve this with a simple
tossed green salad.


1 boneless turkey breast (about 4 pounds)
1 large onion, halved (do not peel) and stuck with 2 cloves
3 carrots, chopped
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
A 1- inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
4 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and green germ removed
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup extra- virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon imported French mustard
6 small spring onions or scallions, white part only, trimmed, peeled, and cut into very thin slices
12 Cornichons (page 290), thinly sliced
1/2 cup Capers in Vinegar (page 289), drained
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut into a chiffonade, for garnish

1. Place the turkey breast in the stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by
1 inch. Remove the turkey to a platter. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaves, salt,
peppercorns, ginger, garlic, and vinegar to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Carefully lower the turkey into the pot, reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and poach,
covered, for 1 1/4 hours.

2. Remove the pot from the heat and let the turkey cool in the liquid, uncovered, for
30 minutes.

3. Drain the turkey and discard the poaching liquid and solids.

4. Prepare the marinade: In a bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, oil, and
mustard. Stir in the spring onions, cornichons, and capers.

5. Place the turkey in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade into the
bag. Seal the bag and turn it back and forth to coat the turkey. Refrigerate for at
least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

6. At serving time, remove the turkey from the bag, reserving the marinade, and place
it on a cutting board. With a meat slicer or a very sharp chef’s knife, cut the turkey
into paper- thin slices. Arrange the turkey slices on a platter. Moisten the turkey with
the marinade. Garnish with the mint, and serve.

WINE SUGGESTION: I enjoy a lively Chenin Blanc here, such as the Vouvray from Domaine

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Salads... Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup

Certain soups are just as well considered a salad in liquid form... I will forever think of vegetable soups, gazpacho or pureed soups made from peas, squash or, in this case, heirloom tomatoes as salad. I made this soup for a small group of freinds, along with Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Lemon Yogurt dressing sandwiches- another wonderful recipe from the Salad as a Meal cookbook for which I posted a chicken salad recipe in an earlier blog. Our soup turned out a little thicker than I suspect it should have because I didn't have the right blending tools, but it had fabulous flavor nonetheless.

Cilantro-Flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup

In the summer months, I keep a batch of this soup on hand in the refrigerator, and I often sip a glassful for breakfast. Light, refreshing, and full of flavor, it hits the spot any time of the day. It matches beautifully with a salad as a meal made up of nothing but chunks of fresh garden tomatoes drizzled with a touch of Basil-Lemon Dressing (page 319). Yes, tomato soup with tomato salad. When they are ripe and ready, never too many tomatoes in my book!

1 1/2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered (do not peel)
1/2 cup imported Italian tomato paste
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground piment d’Espelette or other ground mild chile pepper
2 tablespoons best-quality sherry-wine vinegar
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish (I use a variety of cilantro called Delfino)

Combine all the ingredients, except the extra cilantro leaves, in a a blender or a food processor. Add 1 2/3 cups water and puree to a smooth liquid. Taste for seasoning. The soup can be served immediately, but the flavors benefit from ripening for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours, refrigerated. Serve in soup bowls, garnished with cilantro leaves. (Store without the garnish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reblend at serving time.)

Food processor or blender? In most cases, the food processor and blender can be used interchangeably. But for many soups—especially those that are made in quantity, such as this tomato soup—I find the blender is more accommodating. Even large food processors tend to overflow with a larger volume of liquid. And while the food processor purees, the blender can turn soups into a thicker, emulsified liquid.

Selecting the best tomato paste: Be sure to read the ingredients label when purchasing tomato paste. Many domestic brands contain sugar and other sweeteners. Brands from Italy generally contain nothing but tomatoes and salt. In this recipe in particular, where a quantity of tomato paste is used, the pure version is a must.

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Chicken Salad w/Green Beans & Tahini-Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

My sister invited a few gals over for lunch today. We made the chicken salad, but went light on the cilantro since all other recipes (we made from Salad as a Meal) called for some sort of citrus flair, if not cilantro. I didn't miss the limey herb one bit, because the crunchy green beans took center stage. LOVE THIS RECIPE. Ended up serving the chicken salad on Jacques Pepin's 'bread in a pot' recipe from this month's issue of Edible Columbus, alongside the Cilantro-flecked Heirloom Tomato Soup, which had a great kick and complimented the chicken salad. We served the sandwiches with the cilantro-flecked heirloom tomato soup. Recipe also in Salad as a Meal.

Photo: Shawnie Kelley.  All rights reserved.
Chicken Salad with Green Beans, Tahini- Lemon- Yogurt Dressing and Cilantro
This colorful and tangy salad is packed with flavor, texture, and character. We eat green
beans several times a week when they are in season, and never get enough of their great
crunch, brilliant green color, and healthful, refreshing flavors.


3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
8 ounces green beans, trimmed at both ends and cut into 1- inch pieces
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) cubed cooked chicken (see page 197)
1 1/2 cups sliced celery (1/4- inch slices)
Tahini- Lemon- Yogurt Dressing and Dipping Sauce (page 332)
1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

2. Fill the pasta pot with 3 quarts of water and bring it to a rolling boil over high heat.
Add the salt and the beans and blanch until crisp- tender, about 5 minutes. (Cooking
time will vary according to the size and tenderness of the beans.) Immediately
remove the colander from the water, letting the water drain from the beans. Plunge
the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will
Photo: Shawnie Kelley.  All rights reserved.
cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin
to lose flavor.) Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick kitchen towel to dry. (Store
the beans in the towel in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.)
3. In a large bowl, combine the beans, chicken, and celery. Toss to blend. Add just
enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. Add the cilantro and toss
again. Taste for seasoning. At serving time, season with pepper.

WINE SUGGESTION: This salad calls for a slightly exotic wine. I never tire of the unique, spicy flavors and aromas of Austria’s flagship white wine, Grüner Veltliner.

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Monday, April 4, 2011

On the Fifth Day of Salads... Egg Crepes with Mushrooms & Spinach

Photo: Shawnie Kelley
Spontaneously decided to whip up Egg Crepes with Spinach & Mushrooms this morning and they turned out wonderful, although I find them to be more akin to a thin omelette than a traditional crepe.  Both are veritable Sunday morning meals in this household. This recipe is valuable for those who have a sugar, carb or gluten restricted diet. The experimental twist placed on this recipe was to cook one crepe in a traditional steel crepe pan and a second in a non-stick crepe pan. 
Photo: Shawnie Kelley 
The results were as expected.  Both cooked perfectly, though the non-stick took a tad longer and didn't get the lovely brown sear the steel pan lends to crepes.  Bottom line-- they tasted the same. Fresh, light and healthy, yet totally fulfilling. Also, it paired beautifully with a spicy Bloody Mary. I intend to demonstrate this recipe in a armchair travel-meets-cooking class my sister and I are teaching this spring at the Upper Arlington Lifelong Learning program: click here to register for Simply French: Great Crepe Escape. 

One of my fellow bloggers, Shelby Kinnaird made this same recipe, but with her own take on ingredients. Click here to read up on her nutritional insight.  Hillary Davis, another blogger in the challenge, also commented about her morning with a most photogenic crepe. after two weeks, we inevitably have plenty of overlap with these delicious recipes, so check out Forays of a Finance Foodie's experience with the same recipe.

Feel free to use and comment on this extremely adaptable recipe from Salad as a Meal cookbook:

Egg Crepes with Mushrooms and Spinach
Photo: Shawnie Kelley
Accompanied by a fresh and lively green salad, these ultra-thin egg crepes make a perfect lunch. The egg crepe is quite simply a light envelope for whatever you want to put inside. Here I suggest mushrooms and spinach, but one could also dig into the pantry or refrigerator for all manner of herbs, vegetables, and cheese on hand.

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced
Fine sea salt
8 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 ultra-fresh large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, mint, and/or basil)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
Several handfuls of salad greens, tossed with dressing of choice

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over moderate heat. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt, and cook just until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a sieve to drain. Add the spinach and 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet. Cover and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the spinach and season with salt and freshly grated nutmeg.
2. Crack each egg into a small bowl. Lightly beat each egg with a fork (not a whisk), just enough to combine the yolk and the white well without incorporating any air bubbles, which might make the crepe dry out. Add 1 tablespoon of water to each bowl.

3. Warm the crepe pan for a few seconds over high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining oil and swirl to evenly coat the pan. Add 1 beaten egg, tilting the pan from side to side to evenly coat the bottom. Cook just until the egg is evenly set but still slightly liquid on top, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly spoon half the spinach, then half the mushrooms, herbs, and cheese in the center of the egg crepe to form a strip parallel to the pan’s handle. With a fork, carefully fold the crepe over the filling from each side. Tip the pan up against the edge of a warmed plate so that the crepe rolls out browned side up. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make a second filled crepe. Serve immediately, with a green salad alongside.

VARIATIONS: Wilted Swiss chard and feta; wilted lamb’s lettuce and ricotta; salsa, cubed avocado, and grated cheese; morels in truffle cream with chives.

WINE SUGGESTION: Our winemaker, Yves Gras, makes one of the “best dry whites of the Southern Rhône,” or so says wine expert Robert Parker. We agree, for his Sablet Blanc Le Fournas is crisp, chalky, elegant, and made for everyday drinking—perfect with this simple but sublime egg crepe.

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fri On the Fourth Day of Salads...

This recipe is edible art!!  One of my fellow bloggers, Meg Zimbeck (a.k.a. Salad Eater), blogging from Paris, made this recipe, which turned out stunning. Click here to read what she has to say about the zucchini carpaccio and for the recipe. 
Hillary from MarcheDimanche  made the same salad, but with a very different visual result. Also, she added a savory cannele to the dish- BONUS.  Once again, Hillary creates an artisinal Salad as a Meal. I will not be making this recipe during the challenge, but sure will give it a try later this summer when the garden produces more zucchini than we know what to do with! 
Zucchini Carpaccio with Avocado, Pistachios & Pistachio Oil
Photo by Meg Zimbeck. All rights reserved.
Neither my students nor I ever tire of this salad. It has all the qualities one looks for in a dish: crunch, smoothness, color, aroma. Serve it with Crispy Flatbread (page 260), Tortilla Chips (page 263), or toasted bread for added crunch. Don’t omit the fresh thyme here, for it plays an essential role in the color and aroma.

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Lemon Zest Salt (page 306)
3 tablespoons best-quality pistachio oil (such as Leblanc) or extra-virgin olive oil
4 small, fresh zucchini (about 4 ounces each), rinsed and trimmed at both ends
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup salted pistachios
4 fresh lemon thyme sprigs, with flowers if possible
Fleur de sel

1. In the jar, combine the lemon juice and flavored salt. Cover with the lid and shake to blend. Add the oil and shake to blend.

2. With the mandoline or chef’s knife, slice the zucchini lengthwise as thin as possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and pour the dressing over them. Tilt the platter back and forth to coat the slices evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, so the zucchini absorbs the dressing and does not dry out.
3. Halve, pit, and peel the avocado, and cut it lengthwise into very thin slices. Carefully arrange the slices of marinated zucchini on individual salad plates, alternating with the avocado slices, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts. Garnish with the thyme sprigs and flowers and fleur de sel. Serve.

WINE SUGGESTION: Favorite wine partners for avocado include a young Pinot Grigio, a crisp-style Chardonnay, and a fragrant, well-chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Click here to purchase: 

Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season [Hardcover]