Salads Take Center Stage
The reason I remember the first time I was served a main-course salad, easily 15 years ago, is that it was such a revelation.
It was served to a group of us, six or more, in a large shallow wooden bowl and it was full of all kinds of good things; greens, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, sliced chicken breast and a dressing fragrant with fresh tarragon and basil. I remember my hostess saying how uncomplicated a meal it was to prepare, serve and clean up after.
Main-course salads are a terrific opportunity to combine a variety of ingredients creatively and colorfully. The late, celebrated U. S. cookbook author, James Beard said meat salads originated in North America as a way to use leftovers; maybe he was right.
I once put my imagination together and marinated and grilled chicken breasts on a grill pan, but you could barbecue them instead -- and how they can be paired either with buckwheat noodles or with crunchy coleslaw. The chicken can easily be replaced with salmon or tofu.
I've made all these salads -- and then some. I've taken recipes and changed them, played with them, added to them and subtracted from them. I've made main-course salads for myself and made them for a crowd. And I'm far from an expert cook. If I can do it, so can you.
We have a wonderful salad that makes a meal by itself called "Japanese Cabbage Salad" (Serves 8).
Japanese Cabbage Salad
Makes a full meal when served with any Asian-style chicken, fish or tofu.
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
6 greens onions, sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, to toast
1/2 cup sesame seeds, to toast
1/4 cup dried cranberries, optional
Whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside. Spread sesame seeds on a baking tray and place in a 350F (180C) oven for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully -- they burn quickly. Toast almonds separately, at the same temperature but for a bit longer. Place all salad ingredients together in a bowl. Toss with dressing right before serving, so as not to lose the crunch. Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving: Calories 190, Protein 3g, Fat 16g, Carbohydrates 12g, Fiber 3g, Sodium 195mg (less if salt is omitted from recipe).