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Cool off with some summer salads

india Updated: Jun 27, 2010 00:44 IST

Green beans will contribute a number of nutrients to your diet, including folate, easily absorbed by the body because of a couple of amino acids that are also present in this vegetable. Green beans are also a good source of manganese, potassium, calcium, vitamin A and beta-carotene, and they provide about half of the daily requirement for vitamin K, important for bone growth. They are a low-calorie package too, with just 35 calories in a 100 gm serving.

What you need:
1 pound tender fresh green beans, trimmed, cut in half if desired
1/4 pound small white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, pureed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk

1. Steam the beans or blanch them in salted boiling water for four minutes until just tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain. Dry.

2. Toss the mushrooms in a salad bowl with one tablespoon lemon juice. Add the beans, chives and tarragon, but don’t toss together.

3. Whisk together the remaining lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic, olive oil and buttermilk. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss just before serving.

Yield: Serves six.

Nutritional value per serving: 133 calories; 12 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 28 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 2 grams protein.

Chicken Caesar Salad

When you order this dish in a restaurant, you usually get a Caesar salad topped with dry slices of chicken breast. Here, the moist shreds are bathed in the dressing with the lettuce — another story altogether.

What you need:
1 head of romaine lettuce
2 cups of poached and shredded chicken breast
1 cup garlic croutons
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives, marjoram
For the dressing:
1 small garlic clove
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon wine or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 coddled egg yolk (optional)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Wash and dry romaine leaves. Tear into medium pieces, and place in a salad bowl with the chicken, croutons and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.

2. Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with a little salt, and mash to a paste. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the vinegar, mustard, coddled egg yolk, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Shortly before serving, toss with the salad. Sprinkle the herbs and remaining Parmesan, and serve.

Notes: To coddle the egg yolk, bring water to a boil, add the egg in its shell, and cook for three minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then crack the egg and remove the yolk.

To make garlic croutons, lightly toast bread slices. Remove them from the toaster, and immediately rub with a cut clove of garlic. Cut into small squares, or break them into pieces.

Yield: Serves four to six.

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