One of the most practical pieces of advice I ever received was from a reporter who told me that conducting an interview over lunch is much easier if you order a salad -- because you can eat it with your left hand and still take notes.
Makes sense, unless you happen to get one of those salads where the tomato slices are too big to fit in your mouth, or the lettuce is torn into pieces only roughly approximating "bite-sized."
A safe haven, whether you must take notes or just have knife-avoidance, is a chopped salad. Everything in this dish is smaller-than-bite-sized and coated in dressing. Nothing is left for you to do but lift the fork and chew, with no worries about a stray strip of vegetation hanging from the corner of your mouth.
Bessie Rodriguez especially likes the chopped salad served at Palomino Euro Bistro in Harbor Court. "All patrons of our office rave about this salad," she writes. "What makes the salad great is the dressing that always accompanies it!"
Chef Fred D'Angelo of Palomino says the salad is a favorite at the restaurant. "It's not only good as a starter, a lot of people have one entrée-size for lunch."
The dressing so admired by Rodriguez is a balsamic vinaigrette made creamy by an egg yolk.
D'Angelo says you can give the salad variety by "adding different proteins," say roasted or grilled chicken or even sliced duck breast.
To make dressing: Whip yolks to a froth. Add vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to whip until mixture is "tight," or very well-combined. (Or, place yolks in blender and blend for 2-3 minutes.) Add other ingredients and blend 2-3 minutes longer. Drizzle in oil and continue to whip or blend until emulsified.
Palomino Chop Chop Salad6 ounces (about 3 cups) romaine hearts, julienned
4 leaves fresh basil, julienned
2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) provolone cheese, cubed
1 ounce (about 3 tablespoons) whole garbanzo beans
1 ounce salami, julienned
2 ounces smoked turkey breast, in 1/2-inch pieces
2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) diced tomato
Pinch grated Parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
2 basil sprigs
1 egg yolk (pasteurized if worried about raw egg)
3 ounces balsamic vinegar
1 roasted garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ounce olive oil
Makes 1/2 cup.
To assemble salad: Combine salad ingredients, reserving half the tomatoes for garnish. Toss with dressing. Garnish with remaining tomatoes, Parmesan, pepper and basil sprig. Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving (not including salt to taste): 340 calories, 25 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 125 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 12 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate.*
And now, an emergency request from Linda Taguchi, who seeks a recipe for seasoned salt -- the type based on rock salt and used to season meats. "I'd like to make a batch to give to friends as part of their Xmas gifts."
Nothing like starting early, eh?
The good news is this won't take long. The formula comes from "A Tradition of Aloha," published in 1998 by the Japanese Women's Society of Honolulu. It falls, appropriately enough, in the section called "Gifts from the Kitchen."
Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight jar in a cool place. Makes 5 cups.
Seasoned Salt5 cups Hawaiian salt
1/4 cup celery powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup chile powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
Variation: Delete chile powder and paprika; substitute with 1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes and 1/3 cup grated fresh ginger (ginger will dry naturally in the salt).
Nutritional information unavailable.
Food Stuffs: Morsels
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