I’ve become a bit of a cookbook hoarder over the past few months, which is not always a great thing as I feel perpetually guilty for not actually cooking from a majority of my new purchases. Making matters worse is that I now have a subscription to Food & Wine magazine, which adds another heap of recipes to my wish list every month. Clearly this is a dire situation. Perhaps the most dire situation known to man.
Anyway, not too long ago I decided to actually put my Food & Wine to the test and try out two recipes: Chicken Salad with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing and White Anchovy and Grilled Radicchio Bread Salad. Pictures after the jump:
First: the chicken salad. I begin by mixing Greek yogurt, tahini, turmeric, garlic, lime juice, and olive oil together. Cucumber and mint soon follows. An auspicious start, if I do say so myself.
Next, I’m supposed to grill up some chicken thighs, but I’m too lazy to deal with a grill. A broiler will have to suffice.
And we’re done.
Casual dicing ensues.
Everything comes together in the bowl…
And voila! Chicken salad!
Meh. Given how many tasty ingredients went into this chicken salad, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed by it. The whole dish suffered from a general blandness. It was neither as comforting as a classic chicken salad nor as bold and bright as a standard curry chicken salad. In the end, I threw in a bunch of curry powder and raisins and transformed it into the latter. Definitely an unspectacular adventure. But hopefully I’d have more luck with my next dish…
Time to start the white anchovy and grilled radicchio salad. The recipe has three steps, which should mean it’s super simple, right? First step: blend some garlic and olive oil in the Magic Bullet and then toss it all with bread cubes. Then put it all in the oven and bake until crisp. Crouton magic!
Meanwhile, I now have to roast some bell peppers. Always fun, but a little time consuming. However, with the croutons baking, it’s a lovely way — perhaps the loveliest way of all — to pass the time.
This is the part when you should be hearing the Jeopardy theme song playing.
We’re getting there.
Patience is always a great virtue.
Finally, I’m more or less happy with the blackness of the pepper. I banish it to solitary confinement in a bowl.
Croutons are done and delicious. This is how I will always make croutons from now on (not in a pan, à la Ina Garten). Let’s just assemble the salad and eat!
Oh wait, gotta grill the radicchio. Here it is all sliced and ready to go.
Time to go onto the grill. I’ve brushed the cut sides with honey and olive oil, in case you’re wondering. And I know you are.
A lovely night for grilling here in LA.
And here we go.
The radicchio, post-grill. Poor things. Now let’s eat!
Oh wait… time to make the dressing: honey, red wine vinegar (the recipe calls for verjus, but whatevs), soy sauce, jalapeño, ginger, and preserved lemon. Kind of Asian-y. But Mediterranean-y too.
And now some tomatoes.
I have stripped down the roasted red pepper and prepared it for dismemberment.
Bowl update: we now have cucumber, roasted red pepper, and scallion in the mix.
And now celery. And celery leaves. I swear I’ve been chopping for five hours now.
Mixing is inevitable.
Because this salad prep will never end, it’s now time to dice up some anchovies.
Finally the anchovies, the grilled radicchio, the croutons, and some parsley (MORE CHOPPING) enter the bowl. You can’t say it ain’t pretty.
Final stretch here people.
THE VERDICT: you know, this was a very tasty salad. I loved the Asian influences paired with the Mediterranean panzanella-esque salad. The anchovies and preserved lemons provided a bold zing while the croutons added a great garlic crunch. The radicchio proved to be a touch too bitter for me, but that’s really not the recipe’s fault. It’s my fault, people. Mine.
Ultimately though, this seemingly simple salad recipe wound up taking nearly 90 minutes, if not longer. Between all the grilling and blending and baking and roasting and chopping (oh, the chopping), the time just winds away. If I were to attempt this salad again, I might simplify certain elements — maybe forgo the entire grilling experience, opt for fresh bell peppers instead of roasted. Still, it’s a lovely dish and for those who like to chop and grill and everything else, it’s worth a shot.
Chicken Salad with Tahinia-Yogurt Dressing:
White Anchovy and Grilled Radicchio Bread Salad: