Since it's too hot to move, it's certainly too hot to eat hot foods. For me, this is salad season, especially for lunch. Since a girl can't live on lettuce alone, I've started twisting around old classics that I miss, like a good old fashioned American chicken salad, and the German potato salad of my childhood. They make both here, but the chicken salad I've eaten is a little too oily for me, and the potato salad a little too simple.
Growing up, there was a wonderful little German deli down the street from our house where my dad and I would stop every Saturday after my painting lessons for reubens and potato salad and those giant, juicy sour pickles that are wrapped so satisfyingly in paper. The potato salad is tart and sweet, and made with vinegar and sugar instead of heaps of mayo, and is easy to make and to recreate, as the ingredients are familiar here too (ok, mustard seed my mom mailed me, and I didn't have any bacon laying around, but I adapted). The chicken salad I made is full of summer vegetables and spices, but also mayo-free and light. Aside from the effort of chopping vegetables, boiling some potatoes and grilling some chicken, both are easy to make and light but filling to eat - another added plus when it's just too hot to move.
"German" potato salad
Potatoes (I used a little over 1/2 a kg of new potatoes, peeled)
Hefty handful of green beans, ends snapped off
1 long stalk celery, with leaves, diced
1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 bunch of rucola (arugula), chopped
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dill
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1/2 tsp caraway seed
1 tsp dijon mustard
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Toss the potatoes and green beans into a pot of water, bring to a boil. After a few minutes, take out the green beans and shock quickly in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking and keep the color. Keep the potatoes cooking until a knife can easily slide into them, then drain from the water and set aside. In another large bowl, add the celery, rucola (you can easily omit this if the peppery taste is too much for you), onion, vinegar, sugar, dill, mustard seed, caraway seed and mustard, and mix together. When throughly mixed, set aside as you chop the cooked green beans and then potatoes into thin slices or chunks. Add the potatoes and green beans to the mixture, drizzle lightly with the olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well, and taste - I prefer more vinegar and dill in mine, and you can adjust the recipe as you prefer. Cool the salad in the fridge - I like it when it's cool, not cold, and certainly not hot.
Note: Another great idea is sauteeing the onion with some bacon, using the bacon fat to cook the onion, then adding that to the salad.
Tagine Spiced Chicken Salad
2 large chicken breasts
Tagine spice mixture (I used a mix of paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cardamom, black pepper and salt)
2 zucchini, chopped into thin slices
1 carrot, sliced paper thin
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 red onion, chopped thin
Handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
1 stalk of celery, chopped thin with leaves
1/2 avocado, cubed
Olive oil, Red wine vinegar, salt and pepper
|Potato Salad on the left, chicken on the right|