Let’s Talk Food: Summer salads

The warm and often humid days of summer make great days for a nice chilled salad. Adding some protein such as steak or chicken can make it a main dish for lunch or dinner.

Salad greens come in different textures and flavors and can make for an interesting combination. Tender lettuce greens include Bibb, spring mix, romaine, little gems and red leafy greens. Spicy or bitter greens are radicchio, escarole, arugula, watercress and dandelion greens and sturdy greens could include savoy cabbage, red or green cabbage, Swiss chard, collard greens and kale.

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I like a salad spinner to wash and dry my greens. Greens do not adhere as well to the dressing if they are dripping wet.

The correct way to clean your greens is to check each leaf and rinse them under cold running water. Chop or tear each leaf into bite sized pieces. Fill the bowl of the spinner with cold water. Place just enough greens to cover in water, washing in batches, and gently agitate them. Let them sit for two to three minutes so any remaining dirt settles to the bottom. Lift out the basket and empty the water from the bowl.

If your greens still look dirty, rewash in clean cold water.

Lift the basket and empty out the water. Return the basket to the bowl. Spin vigorously. Pour out any water and repeat until the green don’t give off any more liquid.

Here is a hearty dinner salad that would surely satisfy any hungry appetite.

Korean Flank Steak Salad

Serves: 4

1 small bunch green onions

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar, divided

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup toasted sesame oil, divided

1 pound flank or skirt steak

10 square wonton wrappers

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)

6 (2 ounce) baby bok choy, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

1 cup kimchee

1 cup matchstick-cut daikon

1 ripe avocado

Thinly slice white parts of green onions and set aside green tops. Combine white green onions slices, sugar, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, garlic and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a gallon Ziploc bag. Seal bag and gently shake to combine. Add steak and seal bag. Massage bag to coat steak with marinade. Chill 12 hours or overnight. Remove steak from bag and discard marinade.

Stack five wonton wrappers on top of each other and cut wonton stack diagonally into quarters to form wedges. Repeat with remaining five wonton wrappers.

Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high. Place half of wonton wedges in hot oil, cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and browned, 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried wonton wedges to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat frying the remaining wonton wedges.

Heat a grill pan over high, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Add steak to pan, cook to desired doneness, 2-4 minutes per side for medium rare.

Let stand at least 5 minutes, and cut against the grain into thin slices.

Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and gochugaru in a medium bowl. Cut green onions tops into 2-inch pieces and cut each piece in half lengthwise.

Add green onion sliced and bok choy to dressing, toss to combine. Divide bok choy mixture evenly among four bowls. Top evenly with kimchee and daikon. Divide steak slices, fried wontons and avocado evenly among bowls.

• • •

Here is another hearty salad with chicken from chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. His book, “The Food Lab,” uses a scientific method to improve recipes and explains the science of cooking.

Chicken Salad with Miso Dressing

Serves: 6-8

Salad:

2 ears corn

2 green onions, white and pale green parts only, sliced diagonally into 1- to 2-inch slivers

2 cups grilled or rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 avocado, diced

Dressing:

1 tablespoon white miso

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

1 small shallot, minced, 1-2 tablespoons

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

Cook corn: Either husk ears and grill until browned all over or microwave in the husk for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, make dressing. Whisk miso, lemon juice, mustard and shallot in small bowl. Whisking constantly, drizzle in olive oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Put the green onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside 10 minutes to crisp and curl. Meanwhile, slice kernels from cob into serving bowl.

Drain green onions and add all but about 2 tablespoons to corn, along with the chicken.

Pour in dressing, toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Add avocado chunks and fold in gently to combine.

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Top with remaining green onion. Serve immediately.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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