Crab and shrimp cobb salad

Crab and shrimp Cobb salad

I really like Cobb salads. They’re attractive, especially if the toppings are all lined up in rows as they should be. And the combination of all the different ingredients makes a very tasty salad. I wanted to try making a variation, not strictly a Cobb salad as it would have different ingredients, but following the same theme.

I had a crab salad a while back that got me thinking. The crab was great, but it was accompanied by indifferent vegetables. So what about doing a crab salad right, with a better selection of additional toppings? What about including shrimp as well? And what about making it into a Cobb salad?

So what to include with the crab and shrimp? Tomatoes and avocadoes were an easy call. (I used mini heirloom tomatoes, which are so neat looking.) I thought cucumber would go well. Hard-cooked eggs are a standard Cobb salad ingredient and would work. The Roquefort or blue cheese from the traditional Cobb salad did not seem to be quite right to go with the crab and shrimp. I chose instead some shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheese.

For the dressing, I chose to use the Louis vinaigrette I made for the crab Louis salad. For this salad, covered with the rows of the various toppings, I chose to serve it on the side.

Crab and shrimp Cobb salad

2–1/2 to 3 ounces lump crab meat (I used the refrigerated crab)
1/4 pound or less small cooked shrimp
butter lettuce
tomatoes (I used mini heirloom tomatoes cut in half)
1/4 avocado cut into pieces
similar amount of cucumber cut into pieces
1 hard-cooked egg chopped
shredded Gruyere and Swiss cheese

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chili or cocktail sauce

Put the lettuce on the plate, cut up a little if necessary to make a nice bed for the remaining ingredients. Arrange the other ingredients in rows on top of the lettuce.

Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, and cocktail sauce. Serve on the side.

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Caprese pasta salad

Caprese pasta salad

The classic caprese salad combines tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, coated with just olive oil. I thought these ingredients would also make a refreshing pasta salad.

I typically make main course salads including meat or seafood but I wanted to keep this pasta salad light and true to its roots. As an alternative, I cooked a piece of chicken breast to accompany the pasta salad. Keeping with the theme of the salad, I coated the chicken breast with Italian seasoning mix. This turned out to be a great combination.

Caprese pasta salad

1/2 cup farfalla
3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/8 cup fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch slices cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup sliced basil
salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

piece of chicken breast
Italian seasoning
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

Cook the farfalla following package directions. Rinse in cold water.

Combine the pasta, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Add the olive oil and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the chicken breast with a generous amount of Italian seasoning and fresh ground pepper. Saute in olive oil until cooked through. Serve on the side.

Bacon, cheddar, and scallion frittata

Bacon, cheddar, and scallion frittata

This got started as a basic bacon and cheddar frittata, a good, simple combination. Then I had the idea for adding lots of scallions. This turned it into a really interesting and tasty dish.

For the scallions, I have gotten to cooking the white parts of the scallions very briefly to emphasize the mild onion flavor as a contrast to the flavors of the green parts, which I put into the frittata uncooked.

Bacon, cheddar, and scallion frittata

3–4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus more for the top
5 scallions, sliced, with a lot of the green part

3 eggs
oil

Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on a papper towel. Put the white parts of the scallions into the pan and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from pan. Drain bacon fat from pan and wipe with a paper towel.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the bacon, cheese, and scallions into the eggs. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, sprinkle a bit more of the cheese on the top. Place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Steak pasta salad

Steak pasta salad

I came up with this when I was making main course pasta salads to eat before teaching at night twice a week. Since I was making a salad every week, I was going for variety and trying everything I could think of and had on hand. I had a piece of steak and thought, why not? The green pepper and onion seemed to be logical accompaniments to the steak.

As far as the dressing is concerned, I have tried to make the dressings for all of the salads on this blog from scratch. But I am not averse to using bottled salad dressings. When I first made this salad, I used some of the Trader Joe’s Romano Caesar dressing that I had on hand. I really liked the way it worked in this salad and have continued to use it each time I have made the salad.

I have used various cuts of beef for this salad. I think the first time I made this with eye of round steak. This time I used a piece of sirloin. It is important to use lots of fresh ground pepper on the steak while you are browning it, more than you would normally use if just seasoning a steak not going into a salad. This works because you are not just seasoning the steak, you are effectively seasoning the entire salad with the steak.

Steak pasta salad

4–6 ounces steak cut into fairly thin pieces
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

1 cup elbow macaroni
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced

3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Romano Caesar dressing

Cook macaroni following package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool.

Heat oil in pan. Add the pieces of steak and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Cook until well browned.

Combine the macaroni, steak, green pepper, onion, and dressing and stir.

Chicken and goat cheese frittata

Chicken and goat cheese frittata

I thought chicken and goat cheese would make a good combination for a frittata. Then the question was, “How do I put the goat cheese into the frittata?” The goat cheese–at least the kind I get–is a very soft cheese. Obviously I can’t grate it. So I’ll put in pieces of the goat cheese. OK, but how can I do that without ending up with a gooey lump of goat cheese somewhere in the middle of the frittata?

I approached the problem in this way: I cut the goat cheese up into small (about 1/4-inch) cubes. Even that was tricky, as the goat cheese tended to either stick together or break apart. You certainly don’t need neat cubes–just pieces around that size for the frittata. As I cut/broke off the cubes/pieces of goat cheese, I put each one separately onto a plate.

Then, to make the frittata I combined the eggs and chicken and put only a small amount of the mixture into the pan. I took the pieces of goat cheese and individually placed them into the pan, distributing them fairly evenly. Once the goat cheese was in, I poured the remaining eggs and chicken over the top, stirring it around a tiny bit to get an even distribution. This worked!

Chicken and goat cheese frittata

1/2–3/4 cup cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces
1/2–3/4 cup goat cheese cut into small cubes

3 eggs
vegetable oil

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the chicken into the eggs. Pour a small amount of the mixture into the pan. Place the cubes of goat cheese around on the top of the eggs and chicken. Pour the remaining eggs and chicken mixture over the top. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

Tuna, olive, and egg salad

Tuna, olive, and egg salad

This is not an especially creative salad idea. It just sounded good. The idea came as a mashup of ideas from several different salads. The tuna and egg, on a composed salad, came from the salade Nicoise. Including the Kalamata olives and feta cheese were from my Greek salad. Of course there is some overlap. The bottom line: This is a really good salad.

Tuna, olive, and egg salad

tuna in olive oil
1 or 2 hard-cooked eggs, cut into quarters
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced and then cut into pieces
8–10 Kalamata olives, cut in half lengthwise
feta cheese
spinach spring mix

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
fresh ground pepper

Arrange the spinach and lettuce, the red pepper, and the olives on the plate. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Spoon over the salad. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top. Add the tuna and eggs.

Buffalo sausage chopped salad

Buffalo sausage chopped salad

I discovered in the store a bagged chopped salad mix. It is labeled “European Greens” and included escarole, endive, radiccio, shredded broccoli and cauliflower stalks, carrots, and red cabbage. This salad mix is really dense, with 50 percent more salad by weight in a bag about 2/3 as wide as bag of butter lettuce. It makes for a very hearty, robust, and flavorful salad.

I wanted to use this chopped salad mix as the base for a main course salad. Given the robustness of the salad mix, it seemed appropriate to complement the chopped salad with other strongly flavored ingredients. I chose andouillie sausage and buffalo sauce, both to coat the sausage and as an ingredient in the dressing. Radishes were another nice addition.

Buffalo sausage chopped salad

1–1/2 andouille sausages cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch pieces
olive oil
small amount of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce

chopped salad mix
green olives, sliced
radishes, sliced

1–1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1–1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce

Brown sausages in olive oil. Remove from pan. Mix the browned sausage pieces with a small amount of the Buffalo sauce to just coat and get the flavor.

Put the chopped salad mix on the plate. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, and Buffalo sauce. Spoon half or so over the salad and mix it in with a fork. (No need to toss with the chopped salad.) Add the radish slices and spoon over the remaining dressing, covering the radishes. Add the olives and sausage.