Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Another Lazy Salad

There's so much internet hand-wringing about whether blogging is dead and I always say it isn't but look at me! Pathetic. Anyway, here is the second installment in my salad for lazy mofos series. I have been making this salad all summer but just getting around to writing about it now because lazy.

This salad is great for lunch, snack or a hot summer night dinner.

Prepare two cups of cooked grain and put in fridge to cool.

I'm partial to farro, a type of wheat that looks a bit like barley. Trader Joe's sells farro that cooks in 10 minutes, which is awesome for lazy people. Anything that involves soaking or long cooking times is total BS. Red quinoa is nice, which takes 15 minutes and needs to be rinsed before cooking.  I have always followed this step despite laziness. I think quinoa can be bitter and maybe this helps? God knows. Wild rice would probably be good, too. Whatever it is, don't overcook it.  Mushy grain sucks.

Pasta, you ask? I have made this with both whole wheat and regular orzo and even when cooked al dente, pasta lacks the needed oomph to make this salad a meal. Professional Critic discourages use of pasta in this salad but it's a free country.

While grain is cooking:

Shuck an ear of corn, cut off kernels and set aside.

Toast a few TB of nuts in toaster oven.
Aim for light brown but forgive yourself if you scorch them and have to re-do. We've all been there.  Slivered almonds are my favorite. Pine nuts are also nice though bonkers expensive. Any nut (chopped up if you're using walnuts or pecans) is really fine but try to avoid nut skins as they can be bitter. When done, set aside to cool.

With a box grater over a large plate/cutting board, grate 2 small or 1 medium zucchini (the large ones are too watery), 1 small-medium summer squash, 1 large carrot

Optional: finely chop a small shallot or half of a small red onion.

Please resist the urge to start cooking before all veggies are prepped. The cooking time is so quick, your veggies will be mush if you do this and your salad will be sad.

Heat saute pan with slug of olive oil til shimmering. Cook shallot/onion til just soft. Add all veggies. Cook for 1-2 minutes. You aren't cooking as much as gently nudging the food out of rawness. Remove from heat immediately, transfer into large Tupperware, put in fridge.

Depending on how hungry or impatient you are, wait for everything to cool, or don't.

Mix grains and veggies in the large Tupperware. Throw in nuts. Add some crumbled cheese, 3/4-1 cup works but if you're really into cheese do what you need to do. I like feta but any other semi-hard cheese with backbone will work. I squeeze a quarter lemon over the whole shebang, add salt, a bit more olive oil, some balsamic vinegar. 

Eat as is, or serve over a bed of mixed lettuce. To make the meal more substantial, add a chopped hard boiled egg, or some cooked turkey or chicken. Add more lemon juice/oil/vinegar if needed.

Bon appetit, my lazy friends!

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