Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mixed Vegetable Salad with Lime Dressing

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For this month's Chef Spotlight Dinner where we are highlighting Chef Rick Bayless, my friend Betsy prepared this dish. It's a gorgeous, colorful salad with a nice tangy lime dressing. Such a great starter to our meal!

Mixed Vegetable Salad with Lime Dressing
recipe from Rick Bayless

About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally 1/8 inch thick
Small boiling potatoes like the red-skinned ones, sliced 1/8 inch thick
Beets, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Green beans, ends snipped and cut in half
Peas, fresh or (defrosted) frozen

About 2 cups (total) of any or all of the following:
Radishes, stem-and root-ends removed, slices paper-thin
Cucumbers, peeled, seeded (if desired) and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil, preferably part olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
A generous 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or flat-leaf parsley (optional)

For the garnish:
6 leaves romaine or leaf lettuce
1 small bunch of watercress, large stems removed (optional)
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 thick slice of red onion, broken into rings
2 tablespoons crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like
feta or farmer’s cheese (optional)

The vegetables. In a large saucepan, set up a vegetable steamer over an inch of water and set over medium-high heat. When the water begins to boil, place the prepared carrots, potatoes and/or beets in separate shallow piles on the steamer rack. (If using beets, keep them away from the others, or you’ll have a lot red vegetables.) Steam, tightly covered, until the vegetables are tender but still retain a little firmness, 8 to 12 minutes, depending on their cut and condition. If one vegetable is done before the other, remove it with a large spoon or tongs. Cool the vegetables in separate groupings on a large tray. Next, steam the green beans and/or fresh peas, tightly covered: 5 to 8 minutes for beans, anywhere from 4 to 20 minutes for the peas (depending on the size and freshness). When the green vegetables are done, remove them and cool with the other vegetables. Frozen peas need only be defrosted and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the radishes, cucumbers and/or tomatoes with the well-drained, cooked vegetables.


The dressing. A few minutes before serving, measure the lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and optional fresh coriander or parsley into a small bowl or a jar with tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake until thoroughly blended. Pour onto the vegetables and mix well.

Garnish and presentation. Line a large serving platter with lettuce leaves. Once again, toss the vegetable mixture with the dressing, then scoop it onto the platter. Garnish the edges with the optional watercress. Top with slices of hard-boiled egg, rings of red onion, and a sprinkling of the optional fresh cheese.

COOK’S NOTES

Timing and Advance Preparation
The time involved depends on the number of vegetables you choose and how quickly you can prepare them: Allow about 1 hour. The cooked vegetables may be prepared a day ahead, the raw vegetables several hours in advance. Dress the salad at serving time.

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