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Food & Drink

Cool salads can add flavor, freshness to summer fun

| Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Let's start this week with a light, colorful and flavorful salad that will be a hit will all of the crew.

Dress it up with some fresh herbs from the garden and serve it with your favorite bread — a nice crusty loaf will really be a winner.

Chopped Summer Vegetable Salad

((makes four to six servings)

1 each red, green and yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded

1 carrot, trimmed and peeled

1 seedless cucumber

6 tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 tablespoons each chopped fresh dill, parsley and mint leaves

1/2hot fresh chilli pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1-1 1/2lemons

salt and freshly ground pepper

Use a sharp knife to finely dice the red, green and yellow peppers, carrot, cucumber and tomatoes. Place the all together in a large mixing bowl.

Add the garlic, spring onions, coriander, dill, parsley, mint and chilli (if using) to the chopped vegetables in the bowl. Toss together to combine.

Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the vegetables, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss together. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

• • •

Here's an Asian salad that's suitable for a main course and will be enjoyed by all at the table. Seared beef paired with crunchy bean sprouts and flavorful herbs will make a great plate. You can really “beef up” the salad by increasing the amount of fillet.

Seared Beef Salad with Lime Dressing

(serves four)

1/2teaspoon vegetable oil

1 pound beef fillet, cut into one-inch thick steaks

1/2cup fresh bean sprouts,

1 bunch each, fresh basil, mint, stalks removed, leaves shredded

1 lime, cut into slices, to serve

For the dressing:

grated rind and juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 lemon grass stalks, finely sliced

2 fresh Serrano chillies, seeded and finely sliced

To make the dressing, beat the lime rind, juice and fish sauce in a bowl with the sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the garlic, lemon grass and chillies and set aside.

Pour a little olive oil in a heavy pan and rub it over the base of the pan with a paper towel, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the pan and when hot, sear the steaks for one to two minutes on each side.

Transfer the seared steaks to a cutting board and leave to cool a little. Use a sharp knife to cut the meat into thin slices. Toss the slices in the dressing, cover and let the meat marinate for one to two hours.

When chilled and ready to serve, drain the meat of any excess juice and transfer to a wide serving bowl. Add the bean sprouts and chopped fresh herbs and toss it all together. Serve the salad on chilled plates accompanied by lime slices to squeeze over.

• • •

Here is both a tender and crunchy salad that has a wee bit of spice to it. This will be a great accompaniment to any of your grilled creations. Accompany it with some wedges of grilled or toasted pita, or garlic bread slices.

White Bean andGreen Pepper Salad

(makes four servings)

1 and 2/3pounds tomatoes, cored and diced

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large, green bell pepper, seeded and diced

pinch of sugar

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

14 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

grated rind and juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon cider vinegar or wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground pepper

chopped fresh parsley

toasted/grilled bread to accompany

Put the tomatoes, onion, chilli, green pepper, sugar, garlic, cannellini beans, salt and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl and toss together until well combined.

Add the olive oil, grated lemon rind, lemon juice and vinegar to the salad and toss lightly to combine. Chill before serving. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with warmed bread.

As always, enjoy!

David Kelly is a freelance columnist for Trib Total Media. He has been sharing cooking tips and recipes in Culinary Corner for 23 years.

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