A few evenings ago, I had the pleasure of cooking a very important birthday dinner. Because of the nature of the day, I thought that I better find something special and somewhat out of the ordinary to prepare. I’ll tell you – this wasn’t the easiest endeavor because, as I’ve mentioned many times previously, I’ve been stepping out of the norm for over a year. I had to consider two aspects; first, what would be enjoyed the most and second, what don’t Laura and I eat on a regular basis. A few minutes of flipping through Curtis Stone‘s cookbook called Good Food, Good Life helped out a lot.
I must say, Curtis is very talented at introducing and combining flavors. Whenever I use one of his recipes, I’m impressed at his level of knowledge when it comes to flavor profile. I’ve seen a lot of recipes over the past year and I have to admit, unfortunately, there are some folks out there who merely post recipes to post recipes. I’m a seeker for knowledge, so when I stumble across one of these types of things, I make sure to avoid the source in the future.
Curtis is a step up from the rest. In today’s recipe called Grilled Vegetable Salad with Curry-Yogurt Vinaigrette, he combines a few different cooking techniques with ingredients I would never have thought would go together in a million years. Curry and yogurt? Really? Red onions? I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this one was going to work.
Luckily, the recipe was a success and Laura and I enjoyed half of a wonderful meal last night. I’ll be posting the other half next.
This dish uses two primary ingredients for the “bulk” of things. They are zucchini and red bell peppers. These ingredients create the meat of the dish, figuratively. As far as the vinaigrette goes, Curtis uses Greek yogurt, mint, red onion, lemon and vinegar. The end result was stunning, to say the least. We were both heartily satisfied with this unique and flavorful salad.
For the Vinaigrette
1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Mint, Finely Chopped
1/2 Small Red Onion, Finely Chopped
Zest From One Lemon
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
For the Salad
3 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
2 Pounds Medium Sized Zucchini, Ends Trimmed and Cut on the Bias in 1/2 Inch Pieces
2 Red Bell Peppers, Cored, Cleaned, Quartered and Cut Into 1/2 Inch Strips
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Red Lettuce
I made a few alterations to Curtis’ original recipe. I switched out his lime for some lemon and changed up the cooking method. Since we don’t own a grill, I wanted to prepare this recipe the way most people have the opportunity to. Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I didn’t foresee myself, even if we did have a grill, standing outside in two feet of snow. All the changes I made were in an effort to simplify the method of preparation.
Make the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, add the yogurt, mint, onion, lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar and salt.
Using a fork, mix the ingredients well. If you aren’t preparing the rest of this salad right away, you can cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to an hour.
Make the Salad
In a large bowl, add the olive oil and curry powder. Mix well. Then, add the prepped zucchini and red bell pepper to the bowl, along with the salt. Toss all the ingredients until the zucchini and pepper are well coated with the curry and oil mixture.
Next, warm a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is to temperature, add the ingredients from the large bowl to it.
Cook, while stirring, for about 10 minutes or until you see the edges of the vegetables begin to brown. You don’t want to go so far as to soften them too much, just warm them up and give them a light sear.
When finished, turn off heat and let ingredients cool for about 10 minutes.
In the same large bowl as used earlier, add the red lettuce. Then, drizzle just enough vinaigrette over the lettuce to coat each leaf when tossed. Toss. Once that’s finished, add the vegetables from the skillet and add a bit more vinaigrette. Toss again.
At this point, the salad is finished. You can either add it to a large platter and drizzle some more vinaigrette on top of it from there or you can plate it individually and do the same thing.
The Final Salad
Laura and I picked up with wonderful platter from a local store (Reny’s in Maine) this past weekend. We decided to put it to good use. Although I didn’t add any additional vinaigrette in the photo below, I eventually did when it came time to eat it. Enjoy!