Two Make-and-Take Salads for a July 4th Barbecue

I was flipping through the pages of July’s Cooking Light magazine and came across two salads that would be great additions to your Independence Day menu. I made them both this weekend. Both were easy to prep, and I didn’t pack up many leftovers. So in my book, that’s a testament to a good recipe.

The first one is this refreshing pickled cucumber and onion salad.

cuke & onion salad

Marinated English Cucumber and Onions
(adapted slightly from Cooking Light magazine)

This salad is a winner because it packs a nice little tart-sweet punch and is cooling on the humid days we’ve been having lately. And you don’t have to feel guilty about scooping a second helping.

(Note: I doubled the marinade to give the cukes and onions more pickling liquid. And to save space in my fridge, I combined all the ingredients into a gallon-size zip bag and put it on a quarter sheet pan.)

1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (¼-in thick) slices English cucumber
1 cup vertically sliced Vidalia or other sweet onion

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add sliced cucumbers and onions, and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, tossing occasionally.
Makes 4 servings (about ¾-cup each)

The second recipe is a healthy take on a warm potato salad.

roasted potato salad

Roasted Potato Salad with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette
(adapted slightly from Cooking Light magazine)

The recipe called for serving the salad warm or at room temperature and drizzling the vinaigrette over the potatoes. I made a few adjustments by mixing the just-out-of-the-oven baby Yukons and vinaigrette together. I also didn’t have fresh thyme, so I subbed flat leaf parsley (and I missed the fragrant thyme, so I’ll make sure to have it when I make this again). The hot potatoes warmed the vinaigrette, and the muted pink minced shallots added a little pop of color and nice crunch.

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided, 1½ tablespoons twice)
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¾ teaspoon kosher salt (divided, ½ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon)
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (divided, ½ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon)
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

1. Place a large, heavy baking sheet in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (keep the baking sheet in the oven as it preheats).
2. Combine potatoes, 1½ tablespoons oil, garlic, and thyme in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange the potato mixture on preheated baking sheet and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned and tender, turning after 20 minutes.
3. Combine remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, vinegar, shallots, Dijon mustard, and tarragon in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over potatoes.
Makes 8 servings (about ¾-cup of potatoes and 2 teaspoons of dressing each).

vinaigrette for potato salad

Enjoy, and have a happy Fourth!


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