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GOOD COOKING

Salads That Stick to Your Ribs

April 29, 1993|ABBY MANDEL

Once you know how to make a reliable basic salad, you can make many easy variations. Consider the restaurant salad recipes that follow. Each benefits from the best-quality vinegars and oils. Take advantage of oil and vinegar tastings in local food shops to refine your taste preferences. If an oil is too deeply flavored or possibly rancid, or if a vinegar's acidity is too strong, the salad will be a disappointment.

To keep greens, wash them in cold water, drain well or spin dry in a salad spinner, wrap in paper towels and then in an airtight plastic food bag. Refrigerate three days at the most.

This salad comes from the Bice Italian restaurants, with branches in Beverly Hills, New York, Milan and Chicago. It works well before or after a main course.

BICE'S INSALATA TRICOLORE 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 heads radicchio, washed, chilled 2 heads Belgian endive, washed, chilled 1/2 pound young arugula, trimmed, washed 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved paper-thin

Combine red wine and balsamic vinegars with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in oil.

Cut radicchio and endive about same size as arugula. Combine with arugula.

Put greens in large bowl. Toss with vinaigrette. Arrange salad on chilled serving plates. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with cheese, dividing evenly. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 188 calories; 401 mg sodium; 7 mg cholesterol; 15 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 2.05 grams fiber.

The combination of ingredients in this bistro salad from Chicago's Un Grand Cafe gives it great style and balance of flavors. This is not a buffet salad; the frisee is best eaten at the table with a knife and fork.

UN GRAND CAFE'S FRISEE SALAD 1 large egg yolk 2 tablespoons water 1 1/4 cups olive oil 4 to 5 tablespoons Sherry vinegar 6 small anchovies, rinsed, patted dry 4 teaspoons minced garlic 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese 1 large shallot, minced 1/4 cup parsley leaves 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 (6-ounce) piece baguette loaf, crusts trimmed, bread cut into 1/3-inch dice 2 medium heads frisee, trimmed, washed, crisped, torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups loosely packed frisee per salad) 1 large tomato, shell only, cut into fine dice 1/4 cup toasted pecans 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk egg yolk (reserve egg white for another use), water, 1 cup oil and vinegar together in small bowl until slightly thickened. Whisk in anchovies, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, cheese, shallot, parsley and pepper until well combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Gently heat remaining 1/4 cup oil and remaining tablespoon minced garlic in small pan until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Do not burn. Strain out garlic and discard. Heat strained oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes. Lightly toast about 4 minutes, stirring often. Let croutons cool.

Toss frisee with diced tomatoes, pecans, Parmesan and vinaigrette. Adjust seasonings to taste. Toss in croutons. Serve immediately on chilled serving plates, dividing ingredients evenly. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 611 calories; 630 mg sodium; 66 mg cholesterol; 56 grams fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 1.93 grams fiber.

Note : Although many recipes call for uncooked eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that diners avoid eating raw eggs. Commercial egg substitutes may be used in place of raw eggs in certain circumstances. Check egg substitute package for applications.

This salad from Capriccio restaurant in Northfield, Ill., features a thick dressing, delicious as a dip for crudites as well as on greens. The dressing will keep for several days, or you can cut the recipe in half for a smaller group.

CAPRICCIO'S HOUSE SALAD 1 large egg 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic 3/4 teaspoon minced shallot 1 cup olive oil 1 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 1 to 4 teaspoons water, as needed 2 large heads romaine, washed, crisped, torn into pieces 2 large heads Boston lettuce, washed, crisped, torn into pieces (about 4 cups loosely packed lettuces per salad) 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, rinsed, well drained Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Use whisk or metal blade of processor to combine egg, Worcestershire, mustard, tarragon, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and shallot. While whisking or processing, slowly add olive oil, then vegetable oil and vinegar. If mixture is too thick, add water as necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill few hours before using. (Can be made 3 days ahead and refrigerated.)

Combine romaine and Boston lettuce in large bowl. Toss with dressing. Arrange on chilled dinner plates. Garnish salads with hearts of palm, dividing evenly. Adjust seasonings to taste. Pass cheese separately. Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about: 508 calories; 347 mg sodium; 27 mg cholesterol; 56 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.6 gram fiber.

Note : Although many recipes call for uncooked eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that diners avoid eating raw eggs. Commercial egg substitutes may be used in place of raw eggs in certain circumstances. Check egg substitute package for applications.

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