the appetizer:

Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More than 75 Recipes by Mark Bittman, includes recipes like Layered Salad; Big Beans with Skordalia; and Savory Vegetable and Grain Torta.



Layered Salad

Makes: 4 servings
Time: 20 minutes

For 20 years we've served alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella as if they were the only ingredients available for layering in a salad. It's a fine combination, to be sure, but come on—we can branch out a bit.

This version provides a formula for all sorts of combinations to try all year long, even when tomatoes aren't in season; just pick one of the options from each line in the ingredient list and build away.

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, cored; or 3 oranges (blood oranges are nice), peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced; or 8 thick slices of watermelon
         (no bigger than the tomatoes), rinds and seeds removed
  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced paper-thin; or 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced; or 8 thin slices
         fresh mozzarella or feta cheese
  • 1/4 pound jicama, daikon, or other radishes, Asian pear, or Granny Smith
         apple, peeled if necessary, grated or finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or rice or sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro for garnish

1. Cut each tomato or orange crosswise into 4 thick slices. Put a layer of them on plates or a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the cucumber or watermelon, then the onion or scallions; season again if you like. Put the avocado or cheese slices over all, fanning them out to get good coverage. Top with the radishes or apple and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper one last time.

2. Use a fork to mix the oil and lemon juice or vinegar in a small bowl and drizzle the dressing over the top. Garnish with the chopped basil or cilantro and serve.

Layered Peach Salad: A must when they're in season. Cut 2 peaches into thin slices and layer them into the salad after the avocado or cheese and before the radishes or apples. Dress and garnish as above.

  • from:
    Food Matters
    A Guide to Conscious Eating with More than 75 Recipes
  • by Mark Bittman
  • Simon & Schuster 2008
  • Hardcover; $25.00
  • ISBN-10: 1416575642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-7564-1
  • Reprinted by permission.

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