Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Lyonnaise Style Platter Salad

Lyonnaise Style Salad Platter

On the calendar, summer is moving into fall. On the thermometer, not so much. Theoretically, we are all ready for soups and stews and pumpkin everything. But really? It’s still over 90 degrees outside here. So a hearty cold meal is still very much welcome, but one with some substance and depth. I turn here to my new favorite easy entertaining option – the platter salad. With one nice sized platter or board and a little effort, you can create a stunning display that is sure to impress – and satisfy – anyone you serve it to. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my Buttermilk Cobb Saladand the Margarita Shrimp Salad Platter, so I am forever looking for new versions.

I turn here to a lovely version of a classic Lyonnaise Salad. I’ll be honest, I don’t order salads at restaurants very often, because I generally feel like I can do that at home. But one place here in town has a Lyonnaise salad I am happy to order. The classic Salade Lyonnaise is frilly frisee lettuce topped with bacon lardons and a poached egg with a warm vinaigrette, so I am definitely off book. The green beans and potatoes come from the version I order at the local bistro – they add some heft to a simple salad, making it a full meal. Roasting the shallots makes for a rich vinaigrette with a hint of caramelized sweetness and a gentle tang. Elements of the salad can be made a day ahead, others hours ahead, so it just needs to be attractively assembled before serving.

Lyonnaise Style Salad Platter

For the Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette:

4 shallots

1 cup olive oil, plus a bit more

1 tablespoon Dijon

1 Tablespoon herb leaves – tarragon, basil, oregano

1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper

For the Salad:

1 pound small red new potatoes

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

1 pound of fresh green beans

4 large eggs

8 strips of thick cut bacon

1 generous head of frisee lettuce or curly romaine

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Peel the shallots and cut each blub in half. Lightly coat with olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes, until the shallots are soft and browned in places. Place the shallots, herbs, mustard, honey and vinegar in the carafe of a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The dressing can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Shake or whisk well until the dressing is creamy before use.

For the salad:

Add the salt and vinegar to a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Drop in the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well and leave to cool. The cooked potatoes can be kept covered in the fridge for a day. Before assembling the salad, cut the potatoes into wedges. 

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and fill a large bowl or sink with ice water. When the water is boiling, drop in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking. When the beans are cold in the water remove them to a tea towel to air dry. The beans can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated in a ziptop bag.

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring the water to a boil, then cook the eggs for 7 minutes.  Fill a bowl with ice cubes and water, and when the 7 minutes is up, remove the eggs to the ice water and leave until cool.  Peel the eggs, rinse off any shell bits and pat dry with paper towels. This can be done several hours ahead with the peeled eggs kept in the fridge in a ziptop bag. Before assembling, cut the eggs into wedges.

Cook the bacon strips until very crispy.  Drain on paper towels, patting off as much grease as possible.  Leave to cool, then chop into small pieces. This can be done several hours in advance.

To assemble:

Wash and dry the lettuce, and cover the bottom of a large platter with the leaves. Arrange the potato wedges, green beans, eggs and bacon on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggs, potatoes, and beans. Put the vinaigrette in a small pitcher or bowl and serve on the side for dinners to drizzle over their portions.

Serves 4- 6 

Advertisements

Honey Mustard Potato Salad

Honey Mustard Potato Salad

I am generally a planner – I like to think about menu ideas and recipes for a while before I entertain. But I am getting better at loosening things up and learning to go with the flow.

Case in point, I ran into a friend on the Friday of a holiday weekend and we realized we had not major plans so decided to get together to cook burgers and hot dogs. A trip to the farmers market provided some easy, late summer produce, but as I ran through the grocery to grab the extra bits in pieces, I snagged a bag of baby potatoes thinking that everyone likes potatoes with their meat. But I didn’t really have a plan. Sometimes, as a recipe developer, I get caught up in always trying to innovate – to add to recipes, give them a new twist. And I pondered those potatoes, knowing I wanted to do a potato salad. But the celery in the fridge had gone limp, I’d earmarked the onions for other things, I had no sour cream, there was bacon in another dish. So this recipe came together out of what I had on hand. And you know what, sometimes simple is better. Just a little shallot and some herbs with lovely potatoes and an American classic dressing. No bells, no whistles. Just a good, solid potato salad.

Roasting the potatoes adds an extra layer of flavor to this simple salad – but you want to be sure to roast the potatoes very crispy, so don’t let any oil pool on the roasting pan. Same with the dressing – just coat the potatoes, don’t drown them.

Honey Mustard Potato Salad

2 pounds small yellow potatoes, or a combination of yellow and red

1 shallot

¼ cup finely minced Italian parsley

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces of roughly the same size for even cooking. Put the potato pieces in a ziptop bag and pour over the olive oil. Toss the potatoes around until they are evenly coated in oil, then lift them out of the bag and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet (you can line it with foil for easy cleanup). You just want a light coating of oil with none pooling on the baking sheet, so it is better not to just pour them out of the bag. Sprinkle very liberally with salt and pepper and roast for 25 – 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy and a knife inserted in a piece slides smoothly in. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Whisk the mayo, mustard, honey and oil in a small bowl. Toss the cooled potatoes with the chopped shallot and the parsley, then pour over the dressing and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but overnight is great.

Serves 8

Summer Caprese Chicken Salad

Summer Chicken Caprese Salad

The tomato-mozzarella-basil caprese salad is a true summer staple. When tomatoes are at their juiciest best, it is a joy to serve them with as little fuss as possible. The pairing of tomatoes and mozzarella is deliciously simple, creamy and fresh classic. I’ve taken the idea of the caprese in a lot of directions to maximize this lovely flavor combination, so it’s no wonder I eventually landed on this chicken salad version. I was looking for another creative way to make a wonderful cold salad for a summer meal, one that could be a centerpiece, not just a supporting character. But I wanted to do something lighter and fresher than the creamy mayonnaise form (not that there is anything wrong with that). I felt like chicken dressed in a vinaigrette style dressing would be perfect, and so I turned to this creamy flavor packed standard dressing from my repertoire. And it seemed only natural that a salad with a dressing made with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese have an Italian flair. So tender chicken, creamy mozzarella, crisp pine nuts, juicy tomatoes and a sprinkle of basil it is.

I find mozzarella “pearls” easily in the grocery store, they are little bite-sized balls of cheese perfectly suited for salad. If you don’t find these, tear a ball of fresh mozzarella into small pieces instead. I like the symmetry of round cherry tomatoes and the bright pop of red, but you could easily use oblong grape tomatoes or varicolored varieties. There is likely to be some dressing left over, but never fear. It is delicious on any green salad and will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Summer Caprese Chicken Salad

For the Dressing:

2 cloves garlic

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

Zest and juice of one lemon

¾ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Chicken:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper

¼ cup pine nuts

8 ounces mozzarella “pearls”

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

For the Dressing:

Place the garlic, cheese, vinegar and lemon zest in the carafe of a blender and blend to a rough paste. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until creamy and emulsified. Add the lemon juice and blend to combined. Taste and blend in salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to an airtight jar. The dressing will keep in the fridge for 5 days.

For the Salad:

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Place the chicken breasts on a roasting tray lined with non-stick foil. Brush them with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken reaches 165°on a meat thermometer and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Leave the chicken breasts to cool completely, then cut into small chunks. Place the chicken in a bowl and add the mozzarella, then pour over about half of the dressing and stir to coat completely. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. 

About an hour before serving the salad, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until lightly golden and fragrant. Add the nuts to the chicken and mozzarella in the bowl. Half the cherry tomatoes and add to the salad. Stack up the basil leaves and roll into a tight cigar, then slice into thin strips. Add the basil to the salad and stir to combine everything. Shake the remaining dressing well to combine, then add a bit at a time until the salad is nicely covered in dressing, but there is not a great deal pooling in the bowl. You may not use all the dressing. Cover and keep in the fridge until shortly before serving.

Serves 6

Margarita Shrimp Salad Platter

Margarita Shrimp Salad Platter

Summer is a wonderful time to entertain – people just seem more relaxed and its easy to do something elegant and impressive without slaving away for days. Like this colorful salad. I love the big platter salad (witness the Southern Buttermilk Cobband the Muffalettaversions). The big platter were purchased from discount stores that have proven fantastically useful. And a big, colorful display of delicious food never fails to impress. And people love to customize their meal without making a fuss – just serve up the bits you like for a perfect meal.

Below I’ve laid out my basic blueprint. This may look like a lot of work, but I promise it is not, but the reward is pretty spectacular. And the elements can be done ahead in stages with only the assembly to deal with, and that doesn’t require turning on the oven or standing over the stove if you plan ahead. Choose any big, generous platter and arrange all the ingredients attractively. I use medium sized shrimp that are easier to eat in a salad, but bigger ones are just fine. I like to line the platter with lettuce leaves, then leave some readily accessible so people can easily build the salad to their own tastes. And get creative – add any other ingredients that take your fancy, I have sometimes sprinkled over crispy tortilla strips or added wedges of lime to squeeze over everything.

Margarita Shrimp Salad Platter

For the Pickled Red Onion:

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup water

½ cup cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pickling spice

Layer the onions in a pint jar or glass bowl. Bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices to a boil in a small pan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the brine over the onions and leave to cool, then seal and keep in the refrigerator for a least an hour, but the onions will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the Cilantro-Lime Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup buttermilk

Zest and juice of one small lime

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon celery salt

Pinch of kosher salt

1 cup of cilantro leaves and stems

Place all the ingredient in the order listed in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into an airtight container, cover and refrigerated for up to two days.

For the Shrimp:

2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen (35- 40 count), tails removed

2 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons tequila

2 Tablespoons lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour in the oil, tequila and lime juice in a bowl or a ziptop bag and stir or shake to blend. Pat the shrimp dry and place in the marinade. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil. Drain the shrimp from the marinade and place in an even layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, then roast 8 – 10 minutes until pink and curled and cooked through. Cool the shrimp for a few minutes, then put in a bowl or on a plate and refrigerate until chilled. When they are cold, you can cover the shrimp and keep in the fridge for 24 hours.

For the Corn:

12 ounces fresh or frozen corn

2 Tablespoons lime juice

Chile – lime seasoning (such as Tajin) or chili powder

Salt and pepper

Put the corn in a pan and cover with water by about ½ inch. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Thoroughly drain the corn and place in a bowl, the squeeze over the lime juice and stir to coat. Season well with Tajin, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

For assembly:

One head of butter lettuce

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 radishes, thinly sliced

1 (8-ounce) jar pickled jalapenos, drained

10 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled

2 avocados, diced

1 lime, squeezed over the avocado to prevent browning.

Line a big platter with lettuce leaves, then attractively arrange the remaining ingredients, with some lettuce readily accessible. Serve with tongs, spoons and a ladle for the dressing.

Serves 6 – 8

Curried Rice Salad

Curried Rice Salad

What is summer without the cold salad? Potato salad is the standard sidekick to all of the season’s outdoor events, closely followed I would say by pasta salad, and maybe a good bean salad. And I love all of those things. But for something charmingly different with a whiff of the exotic, this curried rice bowl will surprise and impress everyone at the table. My mom made a curried rice salad for years, and she has told me many times that I should put it on the blog, and told me the cookbook where I would find her recipe. But there is no rice salad recipe in that cookbook, so I started from scratch, creating a heavenly flavored and brightly hued rice studded with crunchy nuts, sweet dried fruits, tangy green onions and a creamy dressing that is light and not at all cloying. A bowl of this sunny salad brightens up any buffet. 

This salad makes a huge amount to serve a big crowd but keeps in the fridge for several days to eat off of, making it a perfect take-along for a lake or beach weekend. It is wonderful at a cook-out, but also packs beautifully for a picnic. Leftovers make a fabulous packed lunch as well.

There is some method involved in cooking the rice so you get it as fluffy and separated as possible. It starts with rinsing the rice to remove the starch. Add the salt directly to the rice, and don’t be stingy. It is very hard to get cooked rice seasoned, so start from the beginning. Placing a towel over the pot before covering it absorbs some of the steam to keep the rice from getting sticky, and spreading it out on a pan helps in this, as it does cooling in it more quickly. (p.s., this is an excellent method for making a curried rice to serve hot as well, just serve after fluffing). The dressing is creamy and tangy but flavoring the rice as it cooks really makes all the difference.

Curried Rice Salad

For the Rice:

2 cups long grain white rice

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon mild curry powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ inch piece of fresh ginger

4 cups vegetable broth

For the Dressing:

¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt

¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons mild curry powder

1½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

Several grinds of black pepper

For the Salad:

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

¼ cup finely chopped mint

4 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped

¾ cup golden raisins

¾ cup dried cranberries

¾ cup roasted cashews, roughly broken

For the Rice:

Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse very thoroughly until the water runs almost clear. Transfer the rice to a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and sprinkle over the salt, curry powder and cumin. Grate the ginger on a microplane grater over the rice, then pour in the broth and stir. Bring to a boil and boil until almost all the water is absorbed and little steam vents form in the top rice, about 10 – 12 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat, place a tea towel over the top of the pot, then tightly cover with the lid. Set aside for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork. When the rice is cooked, spread out on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet to cool. This helps it cool faster and not clump together.

For the Dressing and Salad:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until smooth in a small bowl. Return the cooled rice to the pot (or another large bowl) and pour over the dressing. Stir with a spatula to coat the rice. Add the green onions, raisins, cranberries and cashews and stir to distribute evenly. Fluff with a fork to break up any clumps. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours, or up to 2 days.

Serves 10 – 12

Muffaletta Cobb Salad

Muffaletta Cobb Salad

Over the summer, in the hot, hot weather, I had a few people over for a last minute meal. I couldn’t bring myself to cook much, so I decided to make a big salad. Another last minute decision was to lay out my ingredients on a big platter rather than toss it it in a bowl. It seemed more substantial somehow. It got raves, so I made it several other times and posted as my Southern Buttermlik Cobb Salad. Since then, the big platter salad has become a favorite of mine. For relatively little effort, you get a showstopper meal or side salad. I’ve got all sorts of iterations in my arsenal, and I am sure they will make appearances here. But with Mardi Gras coming up, I decided to create a beautiful version inspired by the classic muffaletta sandwich, with olives, Italian pickled vegetables and peppers, cured meats and cheese. The dressing is tart from using the well-flavored brine from the giardinera (you could also make the dressing from olive brine). This gorgeous plate is hearty enough for a full meal with a nice loaf of French bread, or a great side for a Louisiana style meal. I prepared this for my family, and several people started picking at it with their fingers, so I suppose you could make it an appetizer as well.

Below is a basic guide to the salad. You could use a different green on the bottom and use whatever olives you prefer. I find lovely little bite-size salami in my grocery, but you can cut larger pieces if that’s what you find. I use salami and soppresatta, but you could add some mortadella or spicy salami. I buy a thick piece of provolone, sometimes sliced at the deli counter, so I can cut it into nice, hearty chunks. Use mild or spicy banana peppers as you like. You could purchase toasted baguette slices, but I tend to use half a baguette and serve the rest with dinner.

Muffaletta Cobb Salad

For the Dressing:

¼ cup brine from jarred giardiniera

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon Creole mustard

½ Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup olive oil

For the croutons:

½ a small baguette, thinly sliced

Olive oil spray

Salt and pepper

For the Salad:

2 romaine hearts

6 ounce round of provolone cheese

8 ounces bite-sized Italian salami

3 ounces sliced soppressata

1 (25.5 ounce) jar giardiniera Italian pickled vegetables, drained (reserving brine for dressing)

1 (6 ounce) jar pitted black olives, drained

1 (10 ounce) jar pitted green olives, drained

½ cup banana pepper rings from a jar

For the Dressing:

Place the brine, vinegar, mustard, Italian seasoning and garlic in a pint jar with a tight-fitting lid. Screw on the lid and shake well to combine. Add the olive oil, cover and shake again until well combined and emulsified. The dressing can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Shake well before serving.

For the Croutons:

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the sliced baguette on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray one side with olive oil, then flip over and spray the other side. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes until crispy. Cool completely and store for up to a day in a ziptop bag. If you don’t have olive oil spray, brush the bread lightly with olive oil on both sides.

Assembly:

Cut the romaine into ½ inch wide ribbons, wash well and dry. Cut the provolone into bite size chunks. Cut soppressata slices into quarters. 

Lay the romaine evenly over a large platter. Arrange the giardiniera in the center of the salad, then make attractive rows of the salami, soppressata, provolone, croutons, olives and pepper rings. Drizzle with the dressing right before serving.

Herbed Farro Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

It’s still summer, but the hope of fall is in the air. We are still in the cold salad territory, but moving into something heartier. I love this robust grain salad – it’s a change up from a standard pasta salad, but the addition of fresh herbs and cucumbers freshens things up and it makes the most of the end of tomato season with bright baby tomatoes and a tangy fresh tomato vinaigrette. If you haven’t experimented with farro yet, you should give it a try. It’s a healthy whole grain wheat with a slightly nutty, toasty flavor and a substantial texture and bite. I love it in soup, but is so fabulous in this tabbouleh-inspired salad because it beautifully absorbs the dressing. It’s the perfect picnic or grilling side, but is substantial enough to be the main course.

I say here to use a cup of cherry tomatoes, but it can be a little tough to judge. When I find little bitty tomatoes at the farmers market I love their cuteness and usually just cut them in half. Large tomatoes I quarter, but if all you can find in season is large tomatoes, seed them and chop them well. Reserve some of the dressing to stir through right through right before serving – the grain will absorb a lot of it while refrigerated. I also like to chop the cucumber into quite small pieces so every bite of salad has a bite.

Herbed Farro Salad with Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette

1 ½ cups farro

3 cups vegetable stock

1 lemon, zested and juiced, divided

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

½ cup mint leaves

½ cup Italian parsley leaves

¼ cup cilantro leaves

3 green onions

½ seedless cucumber

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tomato, about 8 ounces

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

Generous grinds of black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

Place the farro in a strainer and rinse well with cool water. Place it in a pot with the vegetable stock, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the grains are tender, but still have a little chew. Drain the farro through the strainer and rinse with cool water. Leave to drain, then transfer to a large bowl. Pour over 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and add the zest and stir to coat. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine.

Finely chop all the herbs and add to the farro. Chop the cucumber into very small pieces, add to the bowl, then chop the green onions finely and add. Half or quarter the cherry tomatoes and stir to combine everything well.

Cut the tomato in half and remove the core and seeds. Place in the carafe of a blender, add the vinegar, honey, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, honey salt and pepper and blend until completely pureed. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until blended and smooth. Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and stir to coat. Reserve the rest of the dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover and refrigerate the salad and remaining dressing for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, you can add some extra dressing if you feel it is needed and season with a little salt if you like.

Serves 6

Buttermilk Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a perfectly refreshing summer side dish, I’m not sure it’s actually allowed to have a summer celebration without it! There are so many delicious versions of coleslaw, and many people have very particular requirements, it can be a somewhat fraught decision about which to serve. But I do like to switch things up, from tangy, vinegary Crispy Picnic Slaw to this creamy iteration that has a very fresh finish perfect in the heat of summer. Some people tell me am a little bit obsessed with buttermilk, and I can’t say they’re wrong. I think it adds such flavor and dimension to everything it touches. In this recipe, buttermilk makes the slaw tangy and fresh with a refreshing creaminess that manages not to be overbearing.

And this coleslaw is versatile. Great with barbecue, hamburgers or hot dogs, or as a part of a cold picnic spread. I grab my vegetables at the farmers market for a local summer treat at the peak of freshness. If you can’t find two kinds of cabbage, one color is perfectly fine, and you can omit the carrots or the radishes, though they add such a lovely, colorful touch. You may want to drain off a little of the dressing before serving, some of the liquid from the cabbage will add to the dressing.

Buttermilk Coleslaw
Serves 6
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 small head of green cabbage
  2. 1 small head of purple cabbage
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 2 carrots
  5. 3 radishes
  6. ½ cup mayonnaise
  7. ½ cup whole buttermilk
  8. ¼ cup granulated sugar
  9. 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  10. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  11. generous grinds of black pepper.
Instructions
  1. Shred the cabbage – you can do this on the food processor, a box grater, or very thinly slice the cabbage with a large knife. You should have about 10 cups of cabbage Place the cabbage in a colander and toss it with the salt. Leave it to drain for at least an hour, tossing it around a few times. Rinse and drain the cabbage. Spread the cabbage on paper-towel lined baking sheet. Grate the carrots and radishes and toss with the cabbage. Leave to dry for about half and hour. You can pat it dry with more paper towels if you prefer.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, sugar, lemon juice and pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the grated vegetables and toss with a fork to coat the slaw with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for several hours at least, but overnight is perfect. Toss well before serving. You may want to drain off some accumulated dressing.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Southern Buttermilk Cobb Salad

Summer entertaining should be easy. It is just too hot to spend hours over a steaming stove. But that doesn’t mean a meal can’t be spectacular. And I am telling you, no one will feel cheated with a salad for dinner when it is this full of delicious, hearty components. I love laying this out on a big rectangular platter – it absolutely produces oohs and ahhs. But a big pretty bowl will work as well. The buttermilk poached chicken is tender with a hint of tang, and the buttermilk vinaigrette walks the line between creamy and light perfectly.

Here’s what I do to make this easy. I marinate and cook the chicken a day ahead and chill in the fridge, and hard boil the eggs keeping them in their shell in the fridge as well and whip up the dressing. Then before serving I put the bacon on a baking sheet in the oven to cook until crispy, then drain it on paper towels. Radishes and cucumbers can be sliced and cubed a few hours ahead. Cut the chicken into chunks, peel and slice the eggs, crumble the bacon and shortly before dinner is to be served, just assemble the salad. Serve with some lovely bread and you’ve got a full meal.

What I list here is a guide: go with whatever beautiful fresh vegetables you find. Avocado is traditional on a cobb salad, but I like refreshing locally grown cucumbers, paired with colorful radishes and bright tomatoes. Blue cheese adds a lot of tang, but goat cheese is wonderful too.

Southern Buttermilk Cobb Salad
Serves 8
Print
Ingredients
  1. Buttermilk Poached Chicken
  2. 3 ½ cups whole buttermilk
  3. 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  6. Buttermilk Vinaigrette
  7. 2 green onions, very finely chopped
  8. 1 clove of garlic, put through a garlic press
  9. 2/3 cup whole buttermilk
  10. 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  11. 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  12. ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  13. Salt and pepper to taste
Salad
  1. 2 heads of romaine lettuce
  2. 3 hard boiled eggs. sliced
  3. 3 large radishes. Thinly sliced
  4. 6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp
  5. ½ cup blue cheese
  6. ½ of a seedless cucumber, cubed
  7. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
For the chicken
  1. Stir the buttermilk, hot sauce, and a hearty dose of salt and pepper together in a large saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. Place the pan over medium low heat and bring the buttermilk just to a simmer – do not boil. Cook just at a bubble until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 – 40 minutes. I like to use a probe thermometer to gauge that the chicken has reached 165 degrees. The buttermilk will separate and look a little curdled, that’s fine. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and rinse off the curdy buttermilk. Pat the chicken dry, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Vinaigrette
  1. Place all the ingredients in a pint jar and shake well to combined. I like to make this a day ahead so the flavors really meld together and store it in the fridge. Shake well before serving.
Assembly
  1. Layer a large platter or salad bowl with torn romaine leaves, then top with the chicken, vegetables, eggs, bacon and cheese, Drizzle with the vinaigrette.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/

Barbecue Pasta Salad

My hometown of Memphis is known far and wide for barbecue. And we’ve found ways to barbecue-ize everything. Pizza, nachos, pimento cheese (yes, I did that). So when I was pulling together an outdoor picnic, adding a dose of barbecue to the spread seemed only natural, so I added a little Memphis kick to a lovely cold pasta salad. The results were a big hit, so I think it will become a staple in my summer side menu. It’s great with burgers and dogs, but also compliments a cold sandwich spread.

As is the case with dishes like this one, it is imminently customizable. I love using my house barbecue sauce, so I control the spice and sweetness, plus I end up with some extra sauce for burgers or grilling. But if you use a bottled sauce, I won’t tell. Use a mix of colored bell peppers, substitute green onions for the red. Add some cooked crispy bacon, or small cubes of cheddar cheese. Stirring some vinegar into the cooled pasta helps to add a salty flavor – it’s difficult to get the level right in a cold dish, so salt it after it has chilled.

Barbecue Pasta Salad
Serves 8
Print
For the Barbecue Sauce
  1. 1 ¼ cup ketchup
  2. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  3. ¼ cup sorghum
  4. ¼ cup cider vinegar
  5. ¼ cup water
  6. 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  7. 2 ½ teaspoons ground mustard
  8. 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. ½ teaspoon black pepper
  11. ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the Salad
  1. 16 ounces small pasta
  2. 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  3. 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  5. ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  6. ½ cup barbecue sauce
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. salt and pepper to taste
For the Sauce
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk to blend well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Leave the sauce to cool. This makes more sauce than needed for the salad, the extra will keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.
For the Salad
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Rinse the pot with water to cool it down, then return the pasta to the pot. Add the vinegar and stir to coat the pasta. Toss the noodles with the onion, green pepper and parsley.
  2. Stir the barbecue sauce and mayonnaise together in a small bowl until completely combined, then pour over the pasta. Stir to completely coat the pasta. Cover and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. The Salad can be kept covered in the fridge for up to two days.
The Runaway Spoon http://therunawayspoon.com/blog/