Summer Salad Series: Ensalada Cesaria
With a prominent taste of crushed garlic, the freshness of the lemon zest and the crunch of the romaine, this salad is not without evoking Caesar salad, but it's more layered in taste and texture. I call it Ensalada Cesaria as a more feminine and subtle salad than Caesar, and a modest homage to Cesaria Evora--the bare food diva from Cape Verde. The pink grapefruit segments also bring a very nice color to the salad blend and their sweet and sour tang complements the greens and the dressing.
Salad blend up 6 oz total
25% “Spring Mix” or Mesclun
Genoa Basil: ¼ cup cut small or more to taste
Lemon zest: ¼ spoon, to taste
Avocado: 1 large, diced medium
Grapefruit: 1 segmented, reserve some of the juice squeezing peels and core.
Goat Cheese: 2 to 3 oz crumbled small pea size.
Grapefruit juice: 2 tablespoon
White balsamic vinegar: 1 tablespoon
Dijon mustard: 1 tablespoon
Garlic: 1 large clove crushed
Olive oil: up to ½ cup depending on salad blend
Ground cumin: 1/8 teaspoon
Madras curry powder: to color dressing and impart a discreet flavor (no more than 1/8 teaspoon)
Cayenne: a speck
Segment grapefruit and (by hand) squeeze out juice from peels and core. Put all in a bowl and reserve in fridge.
With a serrated knife, finely shred Romaine in about 1/8 inch ribbons and mix in with the rest of the greens. Toss with a bit olive oil. Mix in basil, lemon zest, crumbled goat cheese and set all aside in fridge if needed before serving.
Before serving, toss in salad mixture and 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice. Dress the salad. The goat cheese should slightly coat the leaves, add avocado and gently toss.
Top salad bowl or each plate if serving individually with grapefruit segments.
Jean-Mark Sens grew up in France and Belgium and has been living in the Southern United States of America for the past 25 years, except for a short stint in the deep East of Maine, which brought him back to New Orleans. He has taught culinary arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Eastern Maine Community College and more recently for Mississippi University for Women on the Gulf Coast, and also works with the Goldring Centre for Culinary Medicine in New Orleans. He has published a collection of poetry, Appetite, with Red Hen Press. The present recipes are part of Leafy Greens and Sundry Things, a book on the arts and technique of composing salads in need of a publisher.