Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hoping to Please

The first of today's recipes uses chunks of cooked ham, making an ideal 'salad' for serving at a buffet either indoors al fresco, and substantial enough to make a meal for one (reduce amounts by four) it that's all you need.
Devilled Ham and Pineapple Salad: serves 4
8 oz (225g) pasta penne, cooked
5 fl oz (150ml) natural or Greek yogurt
1 tblsp cider vinegar
1 tsp mustard (pref wholegrain)
half tsp caster or icing sugar
1 - 2 tblsp mango chutney
salt and pepper
4 oz (100g) cooked ham, cut into chunks
1 x 200g can pineapple chunks, drained
1 rib celery, chopped
half green or red bell pepper, diced
1 tblsp flaked and toasted almonds
Drain then rinse the cooked pasta, then drain it well again and put into a bowl.
Make a dressing by mixing together the yogurt, mustard, sugar, and chutney together, adding seasoning to taste, then add this to the pasta and toss gently together. Fold in the ham, pineapple, celery and pepper, the put into a serving dish and sprinkle over the toasted almonds. Good served with crusty bread.

Next recipe uses ham (this time pref smoked but not essential) with pulses. As you know, with me beans are beans are beans, so we can make a choice of which type of bean (but not baked beans due to their sauce) to use, and this is will be dictated by what we already have on our shelf.
This time the dressing has a number of ingredients, but worth it. All too often we tend to stick to using either mayo or the more 'runny' French or Italian (oil and vinegar) dressings, and miss out on those (such as below) that really do add the necessary to boost ingredients that haven't much flavour on their own. So every time you make a salad, experiment with a new dressing.

You will notice I've suggested using icing sugar (caster sugar normally given in recipes) as this dissolves instantly, which makes the dressing less 'gritty'.
Smoked Ham and Bean Salad; serves 4
1 carrot, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 x 426g cans beans (see above) drained
4 oz (100g) smoked ham, diced
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbslp light olive oil
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 dessertsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp mustard (pref wholegrain)
few drops soy sauce
half tsp caster or icing sugar
few drops Worcestershire sauce
dash Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
Steam or boil the carrot until tender. Drain and put into a bowl with the onion, then leave to cool. Rinse the drained beans, drain again and add to the bowl with the ham and tomato
Make a dressing by combining the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, whisking to mix them well together, then pour some or all of this over the ham and bean salad, toss to combine, then serve.

Spicy Three Bean Salad: serves 6
1 x 425g can red kidney beans
1 x 425g can haricot beans
1 x 425 can black-eyed or pinto beans
1 x 425g can chickpeas
half a red bell pepper, seeded/diced
half a green bell pepper, seeded/diced
6 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp tomato ketchup
2 tblsp olive oil (pref extra virgin)
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch salt
few drop hot pepper sauce (Tabasco etc)
Drain the beans and chickpeas and rinse well. Drain again, removing any excess water, then put into a bowl with the prepared peppers, radishes and most of the spring onion (reserving some of the green).
Make the dressing by putting the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mixing thoroughly, then pour this over the bean salad, gently folding the lot together so all the beans are coated with the dressing.
Cover bowl with lid or cling-film and place in the fridge to chill for at least an hour (pref longer)then garnishwith the reserved green onion shoots sprinkled on top prior to serving.