Monday, July 09, 2012

Boat Galley: A Summer Salad Recipe

This week, the Boat Galley shares one of their favorite recipes -- boat friendly and "hot weather"-friendly...

Guest blog by Carolyn Shearlock
Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, appears weekly on the Daily Boater with tips for getting the most out of your boat's kitchen.

Hot summer salad recipe for boaters
Photo: Carolyn Shearlock, theboatgalley.com

Looking for a great dish on the boat? This salad can be made with rice or pasta, doesn’t have any mayonnaise to spoil and – for those really hot days – you can add some cooked meat to make a cold meal...

Today’s Topic: A Recipe for Rice or Pasta Salad...

Rice or pasta salad is one of my favorites when I want a big dish that can be made in advance and kept for several days.

I frequently make it for weekends with guests, passages or potlucks and use a vinegar-and-oil dressing on it, as it lasts better that way – and there's less chance of food poisoning.

To be honest, this isn't really a recipe in the sense of giving exact ingredients and amounts, but rather a flexible "here's how I make it." While this might be frustrating to some, this approach allows you to use the ingredients you like or – perhaps more importantly – that you have available.

You'll need a large serving/storage bowl with a tight-fitting lid for this. You can also use a smaller bowl and make just enough for one or two people. The big thing is that if you're going to store it in a boat refrigerator or cooler, or just transport it from home to your boat, the lid MUST be leak proof and not prone to popping off.

Cook enough rice or pasta to fill the bowl between half and two-thirds full. I like to use chicken or vegetable bouillon powder instead of salt in the water for extra flavor. If you're using pasta, medium size shapes are best, such as macaroni, penne, rotini or bows. However, you can use the small size pasta or even couscous – just don't fill the bowl more than half full since they are more dense.

Add a mix of "salad veggies," based on your own preferences and what is available – diced onions (don't add too many, as the flavor will strengthen as it sits), green onions (ditto), bell peppers (any color), diced tomatoes (if you don't have fresh, you can use drained canned tomatoes), or cucumber. You can also add some canned vegetables, such as green beans, peas or corn (any of these are also good fresh and cooked, also). Black olives are good, too. Unless you'll be serving it right away, don't use mushrooms as they get slimy.

If you want a heartier salad, add a can or two of ham or chicken, drained, or some deli ham or salami or other meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces. I find any sort of fish, including tuna, to have an unpleasant taste after the salad has sat for a day and don't recommend using any.

You want enough add ins so that the bowl is reasonably full.

I use a variation of my Easy Vinaigrette dressing. If you prefer, you can use bottled Italian or vinaigrette dressing.

For my dressing:  I sprinkle either some Mrs. Dash, Italian seasoning or Montreal Steak seasoning over the top of the salad (don't use all three!). Go easy on any garlic, as it will intensify as the salad sits.

Then I pour two to four mixing spoons of olive oil or canola oil over the salad, depending on the size of the bowl (about 1 tablespoon per cup of cooked rice or pasta). Mix the salad and see if most of the ingredients are very lightly covered with oil. If not, add a little more. This isn't an exact science and don't worry if you think you got a little too much - it will absorb into the rice or pasta as the salad sits.

Then sprinkle the salad with a little sugar or sugar substitute. Add about twice as much vinegar as you used oil –  I like balsamic or red wine vinegar, but you can also use white or cider (if using cider, use a little less as it has a sharper taste). You can add a little lemon or lime juice, too, if you like that flavor.

Toss the salad again. Taste it and see if you need to add additional spices, oil or vinegar.

This will last 4 days in the refrigerator.

Shake the bowl (cover on!) or toss the salad before serving. If desired, when serving, you can add hard-boiled egg quarters, cheese or mushrooms – none of these should be added too far in advance as their texture will disintegrate as they sit in the dressing. If you discover that the salad is too dry as the dressing has absorbed into the rice or pasta, add a little oil and vinegar and mix.

Enjoy! 

Carolyn Shearlock is author of The Boat Galley, with over 300 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too - plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers!

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