Recently, I was inspired by the ideas in Tasha De Serio’s aptly titled “Salad for Dinner: Simple Recipes for Salads That Make a Meal” (Taunton, $19.95). The book covers all types of salads.
Throughout the book, there are tips and suggestions for ways to “add substance” to salads.
Pepper and Green Bean Salad with Fried Almonds
Serves: 4 to 6 (main dish salads) / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes
¾ pound thin green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 ½ tablespoons sherry or red-wine vinegar, or more as needed
½ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup blanched slivered almonds
¾ pound sweet red or orange peppers, halved, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh marjoram
Fresh ground black pepper
4 large handfuls frisée (pale center leaves) washed and dried, or favorite salad greens
Bring a pot of water to boil and season generously with salt.
Have a baking sheet lined with parchment ready. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the beans, spread them on the baking sheet and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, combine the garlic and vinegar; let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then whisk in ½ cup olive oil.
Put the red onion in a small bowl and cover with ice water to crisp and remove some of its hotness. Set aside.
Warm a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil and the slivered almonds. Fry the almonds, tossing or stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
Drain the onion well. Put the green beans, onion, peppers and herbs in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Gently toss the salad with just enough vinaigrette. Taste and add more salt or vinegar if necessary. Add the frisée and almonds to the bowl, seasoning lightly with salt, and toss again, adding just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat.