The Perfectly Tossed Salad

by Mindy Fox
Published by Kyle Books and distributed by New Holland,
September 2012, RRP $42.00

Healthy, fresh, and delicious, the salad is one of those rare dishes that can be extremely versatile and good for us; after all, we can never eat too many greens or raw veggies! In her new book, Mindy Fox sets out to share her love of salads and show just why it’s a dish that deserves to take centre stage on our plate.

Our definition of a salad has come a long way, no more about a limp lettuce and a slice of tomato, a salad can be everything from an after-work supper to an elegant dish to serve to friends and family. A simple fennel bulb, thinly sliced and dressed with olive oil, lemon and sea salt transforms instantly into a show-stopping side dish, while Smoked Trout Salad with Pickled Beets, Cucumber and Roasted Almondsis a meal itself.

Mindy shows, that with just a bit of imagination, the best of seasonal produce can be combined with all sorts of grains, beans, cheeses, fish and meat to create a balanced and notorious meal in no time. Containing over 100 recipes and with full colour photography throughout, this original and imaginative take on a humble favourite, will be an inspiring addition to your kitchen and a must for those coming sunnier months when only a salad will do.
About the author:
Mindy Fox is the food editor of the highly respected magazine La Cucina Italiana and a former editor at Saveur. She has written for many magazines, including Every Day with Rachael Ray, and collaborated on a number of cookery books, including New York Times Notable Book of 2009, The Craft of Baking with Karen DeMasco and The Perfectly Roasted Chicken.
And here is what I am making for dinner tonight:

black bean salad with prawns and pickled onions
Although I’m generally an advocate of cooking with dried beans and legumes – which are easy to cook, but require
extra time for soaking and boiling – I’ve found that good-quality tinned beans work well here.

Serves 4

Pickled Onions
180ml distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 bay leaf
10 whole black peppercorns
3 juniper berries
18 teaspoon fine sea salt
18 teaspoon chilli flakes
18 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 large red onion, thinly sliced crossways and separated into rings
2 x 425g tins black beans, rinsed and drained
2 spring onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons finely chopped coriander, plus more for garnish (optional)
6 tablspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
fine sea salt
16 large prawns, peeled and deveined
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
100g feta cheese

Place all of the pickled onion ingredients, except the onion, in a medium heavy-based frying pan and bring to the boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Add the onion, reduce to a simmer and cook, gently stirring, for 1 minute.
Transfer to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool for about 30 minutes.
In a large serving bowl, stir together the beans, spring onions, coriander, 4 tablspoons of oil, the lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot
but not smoking. Add the prawns and a generous pinch of salt and cook for
1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring occasionally,until the prawns are cooked through. Transfer to the serving bowl and toss. Crumble the cheese over the salad and sprinkle with extra coriander,if desired. Remove the pickled onions from their pickling
liquid and serve on the side.

Extracted with permission from The Perfectly Tossed Saladby Mindy Fox, with photography by Ellen Silverman, published by Kyle Books and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland, RRP $42.00