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FOOD : Salad Soiree : Three Los Angeles-Area Caterers Show How to Toss a Party

August 16, 1987|BETSY BALSLEY | Betsy Balsley is The Times' food editor.

AN ONGOING SEARCH for spectacular party salads has led, not surprisingly, to three of Los Angeles' top-notch caterers. Each shared a recipe for a salad that their clients have found particularly appealing. The results definitely fall into the spectacular category.

At Duck-Duck Mousse, caterers Aleta Parrish and Nan Sexton and chef Kelly Malone often receive requests for their superb Roasted New Potato and Sausage Salad, which bears no resemblance to an ordinary potato salad. This one could be a main dish or a side dish, but however you choose to serve it, be prepared for compliments.

A wonderfully elegant yet simple Italian Lamb Salad, created by David Chaparro and Dennis Brown of the catering firm Two's Company, also earns very high points from those fortunate enough to try it. This one, with its beautiful blend of flavors, will inspire lamb lovers to prepare enough so they'll have ample leftovers.

Anyone with an affinity for the tastes and textures of Japanese foods will appreciate the Scattered Sushi Salad from caterer Julie Loshin and Executive Chef Robert Willson of Parties Plus. These two talented experts incorporated many of the most popular ingredients and flavorings to be found in a sushi bar in a creation that is as showy as it is flavorful. This definitely is a salad for a special occasion.

These salads are well worth consideration for a prominent spot on the buffet table at your next party. And don't overlook their possibilities as the mainstay of a wonderful Hollywood Bowl picnic or some other elegant alfresco meal.

TWO'S COMPANY ITALIAN LAMB SALAD

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

6 sweet red peppers, peeled and sliced

Olive oil

3 cups julienned strips roast lamb, cooked medium rare

6 bunches arugula, washed and thoroughly dried

Red wine vinegar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Defatted juices from roasted lamb

Cover onion slices with cold water and let stand overnight. Saute red pepper strips in 2 tablespoons olive oil just until tender. Remove pepper strips and reserve pan juices.

Drain onion. Toss onion, lamb and arugula separately with just enough olive oil to make them glisten. Season each to taste with wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

To serve, arrange arugula around outside edge of large serving platter. Arrange peppers next to greens and fill center of platter with lamb strips. Scatter onion over top of platter. Combine lamb juices and pepper pan juices and sprinkle over all. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: Good-quality Italian olive oil and red wine vinegar are essential for this recipe.

DUCK-DUCK MOUSSE ROASTED NEW POTATO AND SAUSAGE SALAD

14 new potatoes, sliced -inch thick

to 1/2 cup corn oil

Salt, pepper

1 pound linguica (Portuguese garlic sausage)

2 cups collard greens, cut in thin strips

3/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped

2 cups sweet red peppers, julienned

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, seeded and sliced

Vinaigrette

Toss potato slices with oil. Place potatoes on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While potatoes are baking, gently poach linguica in small amount of water for 20 minutes. Drain well, then grill, turning often, until well-browned and crisp. Cool and slice thinly.

Combine potatoes, linguica , collard greens, hazelnuts, sweet red peppers and olives. Add Vinaigrette to taste and toss lightly. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Note: If Portuguese sausage is not available, sweet Italian sausage may be substituted.

Vinaigrette

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons basil-flavored oil

2 tablespoons garlic-flavored oil

3/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Chile Puree

Salt, pepper

Lemon juice Place wine vinegar in small mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in basil, garlic and olive oils. Add Chile Puree and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing.

Note: Basil-flavored and garlic-flavored oils can be made by covering fresh basil leaves and peeled garlic cloves with corn or olive oil and allowing flavors to blend 2 to 3 days.

Chile Puree

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced dried pasilla chile

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

Heat oil in small saucepan. Stir in chile, shallot and garlic and saute until soft. Remove from heat and puree in small food processor or food mill.

PARTIES PLUS SCATTERED SUSHI SALAD

2 1/2 cups hot, cooked Japanese rice

cup rice-wine vinegar

Sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup dashi (kelp and bonito stock)

2 ounces snow peas, julienned

3 ounces green beens, slivered

1 tablespoon soy sauce

8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 whole fresh bamboo shoots, sliced

Garnishes

Combine hot rice and rice-wine vinegar in a bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Set aside. Place dashi and dash of sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil and blanch, separately, snow peas, carrots and green beans. Drain each vegetable and set aside to cool before blanching next one. Once blanched, vegetables may be combined.

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