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Cool salads for hot nights. (Food).

When summer starts to sizzle and humidity covers us like a warm coat, no thought is more appealing than a bowl full of salad chilling for dinner. Assembled during the morning and tenderly tucked into the refrigerator, it means freedom from cooking on a hot afternoon. Salads are a refreshing accompaniment to any main dish, but they also can stand alone as the main course. If you select an entree salad from the recipes in this article, you only need to add a crusty loaf of French bread from your grocer or baker and your meal is ready to serve.

A salad meal is a natural for a Mississippi summer supper. Whether you hand-pick a bouquet of greens from your garden or gather them from the bountiful produce section at your grocer's, you will find all of the ingredients for a flavorful salad close at hand. Tomatoes, peppers, and onions are at their peak in early summer and fresh crab and shrimp from the Gulf are at their succulent best.

When you consider the wide spectrum of ingredients used in twenty-first century salad-making and the creativity they inspire in the cook, it is hard to imagine that salads were an afterthought of American cookery until a few decades ago.

During much of the twentieth century, salads consisted of wedges of anemic iceberg lettuce topped with orange thousand island dressing and played second fiddle to popular entrees like steaks and chicken. After World War II Americans began traveling like never before, and many soon discovered the wonders of European cuisine, which elevates salad-making to an art. Once they tasted the refreshing flavor of fresh greens coated with extra virgin olive oil and accented with herbs and balsamic or wine vinegar, American travelers were hooked.

Added to this were the discoveries of chefs like Alice Waters who founded the trend-setting restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. On a visit to Provence, Waters became so enamored with garden-fresh greens that she declared salad her favorite food. When she opened Chez Panisse during the seventies, salad was upgraded to a starring role.

Although Waters' ideas were revolutionary for the time, they have spread across the country and become an integral part of regional cuisine. In most upscale Mississippi restaurants, you may order a salad as an entree as well as a side.

The best way to enjoy a salad, however, is in your own home. These recipes should get you started.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon green onions, chives,
 or fresh basil, diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese or blue
 cheese, crumbled
4 large tomatoes, sliced fresh

Combine oil, vinegar, onions, chives or basil, sugar, Dijon mustard, and pepper; shake. Chill the dressing. Sprinkle crumbled cheese on top of sliced tomatoes. Pour dressing over tomatoes and cheese. Snip and sprinkle parsley on top. This recipe may be served over a platter of fresh spinach. Yield: 8 servings.

Lucy Coward Gross

With Special Distinction

Mississippi College


1 1/2 to 2 pounds large headless
 shrimp, raw
1 box crab boil
1 lemon, cut in half
3 eggs (boiled, peeled, and
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
2/3 cup sweet pickles, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or enough to
 mix ingredients)
salt and pepper to taste ruffled
lettuce crackers.

Cover shrimp in water, adding crab boil and lemon. Cook until shrimp are bright pink and tender, but not mushy. Remove shrimp. Cool, peel, and devein shrimp. Cut shrimp into bite-size pieces. Add to chopped egg. Add celery, olives, and sweet pickles. Add mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce with crackers.

Note: For a ladies' luncheon, you could stuff shrimp salad into the center of avocados or tomatoes. This presentation is easily dressed up with black olives, carrot curls, and radish roses. Serves 4-6.

Roberta Roberts

A Taste of the South

Presbyterian Christian School


1 (8 1/2-ounce) package cornbread
 muffin mix
1 (1-ounce) envelope Ranch-style
 dressing mix
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans,
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10 bacon slices, cooked and
2 (15 1/4-ounce) cans whole kernel
 corn, drained

Prepare cornbread mix according to package directions; cool. Stir together salad dressing mix, sour cream, and mayonnaise until blended; set aside.

Combine tomatoes and next 3 ingredients, gently toss.

Crumble half the cornbread into a 3-quart trifle bowl or large salad bowl. Top with half each of beans, tomato mixture, cheese, bacon, corn, and dressing mixture; repeat layers. Cover and chill 3 hours. Yield: 8-10 servings. Your recipe for one (8-inch) square pan of cornbread may be substituted.

Lake Guntersville Bed & Breakfast

Guntersville, Alabama

1 large garlic clove, minced and
 mashed to a paste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 cups Romaine bite-size pieces,
 rinsed and spun dry

In a large bowl stir together the garlic paste, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, sour cream, and pepper. Add the oil in a stream, whisking. Whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Stir in Parmesan, add the Romano, and toss with Romaine.

Lyn French

A Taste of the South

Presbyterian Christian School


1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons green onions, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 (6 ounce) jar marinated
 artichoke hearts (reserve liquid)
1 cup crabmeat, flaked
salt to taste
8 medium-thick wedges of crisp
 head lettuce

Blend sour cream, onions, and lemon juice. Cut the artichokes into small pieces. Add to sour cream. Also add the oil marinade from the jar of artichokes. Fold in the crabmeat. Season to taste with salt. Spoon onto lettuce wedges. Serves 8.

The Cookbook Committee

Delta Dining, Too

Delta Academy Mothers' Club



1 teaspoon lime peel, grated
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a blender. After blending well, pour dressing into a jar, refrigerate until needed and shake before using.

4 cups fresh spinach, torn
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red onion rings
1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
1 medium cantaloupe, peeled and
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Arrange spinach on large round serving platter. Top with celery. Arrange onion rings in a circle around platter close to edge. Make another circle of avocado slices with alternating cantaloupe slices. Drizzle dressing over all and sprinkle with pine nuts. For individual servings, line one plate with spinach leaves. Place a ring of canteloupe in the center of plate; mound other ingredients in the center of the canteloupe slice. Drizzle with dressing and pine nuts. Serves 6.

Shirley Hines

Editor's note: You may not need all of the lime dressing. The leftover amount is delicious on tossed salads.

1 large onion
4 medium chicken breasts
3 hard boiled eggs, grated
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard onion
 salt, pepper, and seasoning salt,
 to taste
3/4 cup pecans (toasted and

Boil onion and chicken breasts until tender. Drain, discard onion and chop chicken breasts into small cubes. Mix in eggs, celery, mayonnaise, and mustard, until desired consistency. Add more mayonnaise if necessary. Season to taste with onion salt, pepper, and seasoning salt. Stir in pecans. Serve on lettuce leaves. Serves 4-6.

Margaret Furrh

2 pounds lean boneless sirloin, cut
 into 1/2-inch thick strips
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter,
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen
 artichoke hearts, cooked, drained
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups small cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups Dijon Dressing (see below)
lettuce leaves

Saute the beef in batches in 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over high heat until mediumrare. Do not overcrowd the pan. As the meat is cooked, transfer to a colander to drain. Let stand until cool. Saute the mushrooms in the remaining butter in the same skillet; drain. Let stand until cool.

Combine the beef, mushrooms, artichokes, celery, cherry tomatoes, chives, and parsley in a bowl and mix gently. Add the Dijon dressing, tossing to coat. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally. Toss with mixed greens. Serves 6.

2 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup wine vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 shallots, finel chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed,
 or 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
salt and freshly ground pepper to

Combine the oil, vinegar, parsley, shallots, mustard, dill weed, Tabasco, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the jar and shake to mix. Store in the refrigerator.

Sunny Side Up,

Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Junior League Celebration Cookbook

G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York, New York


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salat and pepper
1 head Boston lettuce, torn into
 ite-size pieces
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 small purple onion,
 thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes,
 cut in half
4 fresh basil leaves, julienned
8 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil,
 drained and sliced
1/2 cup pitted ripe olives
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set Lemon-Herb Dressing aside. Toss lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large salad bowl. Add dressing, and toss gently. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Annalisa Thompson Jager

Food For Thought

Junior League of Birmingham, Alabama
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Furrh, Mary Leigh
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Article Type:Recipe
Date:May 1, 2002
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