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Fresh Summer Salad

June 21, 2007 | Frank Bonanno

We’ve got shallots, parsley, basil and watercress going crazy in the garden at home. In trying to use up as much as I can before summer’s heat destroys the lot, I scrounged up some blood oranges, and put together a giant salad for a barbecue. Thought it might be nice to post the recipe. Some notes on process, first: For the basil oil, I shocked the basil and parsley to get that wonderful shade of shocking summer green. A vegetable is shocked by submerging it in ice water the moment it’s finished cooking. This completely ends the cooking process (keeping it crisp) and forces green vegetables to release extra chlorophyll (yielding a more brilliant shade of green). Second, I use a chinois whenever I make an oil or puree—a chinois is like an extra-fine collandar; it’s shaped like a funnel with a fine sieve on the end. Passing sauces, soups, and oils through a chinois is the extra step that lends a velvety softness to your product. It lends finesse to cooking.
Watercress, Toasted Pine Nuts, Young Pecorino
1 tbsp. minced shallots
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and white pepper
Tools: small bowl, whisk
In a small bowl, combine shallots, vinegar, oil, and sugar. Whisk to incorporate the
ingredients evenly. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
2 blood oranges
2 hearts of frisée, each cut in half
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. young pecorino cheese, cut into chunks
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
Basil Oil (garnish)
3 cups chopped basil
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup olive oil
Tools: 2 qt pot, mixing bowl with ice and water, chinois
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Have a small bowl of ice water ready. Place the
basil and parsley in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and plunge in to ice bath.
Drain, place the blanched herbs in the blender with the olive oil and puree. Let rest
overnight and then strain through chinois.
To Serve. Cut the top and bottom from the blood oranges. Then slice off the outside
peel and the outer membrane of the orange. Slice the oranges into ½ inch thick slabs.
Arrange 2-3 slices on each of four salad plates. Place a frisée half on top of the oranges.
Top the frisée with a few slices of red onion. Drizzle the salad with 1-2 tbsp. of the
dressing. Distribute the pecorino and pine nuts evenly among the plates. Drizzle a little
basil oil on each plate.
I’ll try to keep recipes and restaurant events posted here; so check back from time to time
(I’d love some feedback, too. Really)