by JJ Proville
The typical salad dilemma of late winter, early spring: the new greens haven’t arrived yet, and you find yourself rummaging around the walk-in, looking for anything to jazz up the salad your customers are expecting to see on the menu. The options look bleak, but then, there they are in the usual spot: the parsnips, rutabagas and other outcasts from the last cold months that never made it out of the box, just begging to be used. So give them a second chance and introduce them to your seasonal salad. It’s all fair game: pickle, marinate, make jams and chutneys and coat with spice rubs to your heart’s content. Or, layer on a protein, and play around with contrasting temperatures, textures and colors. The seasonal transition is an opportunity to add complexity, creativity and potency to the salads on your menu.
Warm Vegetable Salad
Chef Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
Gramercy Tavern Chef Michael Anthony’s sixteen step Warm Vegetable Salad highlights the best vegetables he has on hand. His experiences in France, Japan and at New York’s Blue Hill are reflected in the way the vegetables are precisely and delicately prepared: pickled, boiled, pureed, cured, glazed, and raw – Anthony’s respectful homage to winter produce is a labor of sheer complexity.
Hazelnut Crusted Haloumi Cheese with Champagne Poached Pears and Roasted Beets
Chef Jeff McInnis, The DiLido Beach Club
When the South Beach Ritz beachfront gets one of those brief, soak-everything tropical showers, Chef Jeff McInnis and his crew close up the dining area and retreat to the kitchen where things get creative. One result, reminiscent of the classic “salade de chèvre chaud,” is crowned with a nut-encrusted, seared square of Haloumi cheese which sits perched over red and yellow beets, pear jam, and poached pears.
Hot Sour Sweet Salty
Chef Carlos Jorge, Solu
Tender, rare slivers of Kobe beef and spicy Thai bird chilies cavort under a verdant mound of cabbage, watercress and cucumber in Chef Carlos Jorge’s Hot Sour Sweet Salty. This Asian-inspired salad draws from a palette of brightly colored ingredients which are laced with a tangy, bright fish sauce and lime juice dressing.
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