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New Salad Duet

Now that’s officially summer, the season can’t seem to decide whether to stay or not. Weather aside, recent sunshine and warm days has put me in the mood for my favorite kinds of dishes, side salads. In summer, I’d be happy if every meal were a picnic, with a variety of cold or room-temperature salads, no main course required. I love side salads of almost any kind: potato salads, bean salads, grain salads, vegetable salads, you name it.

I have plenty of old favorites (check the side salads section on my recipe index for a few), but I’m always on the lookout for new combinations of flavors and ingredients. Recently, I came across two noteworthy salads on blogs that I follow.

The first was for Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives, that I found on sis. boom. [blog!], written by the creative (and wickedly funny) Trevor. I love his take on food and presentation. His blog always offers something new to inspire me.

This potato salad is vinaigrette-based, not mayonnaise-based, which makes it great for summer eating. It can sit out without danger. I used about 2 pounds of baby Yukon gold potatoes and substituted thinly sliced red onion for the shallots. I have a lush herb garden, right outside the kitchen door, and used a generous amount of freshly picked tarragon and chives. It was light and hearty at the same time. I think this recipe will be added to the summer roster.

The other new salad winner is for Tabbouli, the Middle Eastern parsley and bulgur salad, from Bakeaway with Me, written by Kathy, another of my cyber-friends from French Fridays with Dorie. Kathy writes most often about mouth-watering baked goods, though I haven’t had a chance to try any of those yet. This salad, her grandmother’s recipe, moved right to the top of my “must try” list. I LOVE tabbouli!

A Bowl of Parsley

What I particularly loved about this recipe was the abundant green parsley and the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice in the lemony dressing. The recipe calls for two bunches of parsley, much more than other recipes I’ve made before use. I typically use Italian (flat) parsley in all my cooking, but for this salad, I used curly parsley, as Kathy does. It tasted fresh and summery. I think the curly parsley is sturdier than the flat, so the leftovers were in good shape the next day. I made half a recipe, which made enough for the two of use to have with dinner and then lunch the next day. Actually, I’ve made this twice this week. It’s perfect!

One more thing, perhaps along the line of airing dirty laundry or sharing one of my pecadillos, but meant to amuse. As I finished making the tabbouli, took some photos, and was about to bring the bowl to the table, Howard remarked (with affection, I’m sure) at how amazing it was that I had wreaked complete chaos on the kitchen in the 20 minutes I spent making the salad. I am a very messy cook and have a knack for dirtying the maximum number of bowls and utensils. Here’s a picture of the debris of my cyclone. Of course, I cleaned it up after dinner, but we did share a few laughs about it over our meal.