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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: A couple of fancy salads

Jun 4, 2015

Enoteca Smoked Duck Salad 

Makes 8 servings as an appetizer or 4 main course servings 

My wife, Kate, found this recipe many years ago in a 1990s collection of recipes from American bistros. Seattle’s Enoteca does not exist anymore, but as long as I barbecue, I will have this recipe in my repertoire. The original recipe calls for fresh papaya, which is excellent, but I like slightly tangier mango as the fruit component. 

For the dressing

1/2 cup | 125 mL soy sauce

2/3 cup | 150 mL red wine vinegar

1/2 cup | 125 mL sugar

4 Tbsp | 60 mL vegetable oil

4 Tbsp | 60 mL rice wine vinegar

4 Tbsp | 60 mL raspberry vinegar

1 Tbsp | 15 mL lime juice 

For the salad

1 pound smoked duck or smoked chicken

2 whole fresh mangoes

2 bags fresh baby spinach,

washed and dried well

1/2 small purple onion, diced

freshly ground pepper

1 lime

1 cup | 250 mL toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1 lime, quartered, for garnish

To prepare the dressing, bring the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and let the dressing cool. This makes enough dressing for 4 salads, but it keeps for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator.

            Cut the smoked duck into bite-sized pieces. (If you are using duck that is frozen, thaw it first, heat it up in a 350˚F | 180˚C oven, then let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle.) Peel the mangoes and slice the flesh off the pits; reserve a few slices for garnish. Place the spinach, duck, mango, and onion in a salad bowl. Grind the pepper over the mixture and squeeze the juice of the lime over it. Add the nuts and just enough dressing to coat and toss. (Too much dressing drowns out the other salad fixings.) Garnish the salad with the lime quarters and the reserved mango slices.


Grilled Scallop and Cucumber Salad

Makes 6 servings

This recipe comes from Jenni Neidhart, a Calgary caterer I’ve had the pleasure of working with on occasion. It calls for Lebanese cucumbers (small, tender-skinned versions of long English cukes) as well as something called vanilla vinegar. What the heck is that, you ask? So did I. It’s champagne vinegar (which is available in gourmet food stores) infused with leftover vanilla pods for a month or more. So, when you cook any recipes from this book that call for vanilla beans, save the pods to make the vinegar in this recipe. Of course, the salad also tastes great with “plain old” champagne vinegar, or my favorite, Japanese rice vinegar. 

TIP: If you can’t find large scallops or if they’re too expensive, get smaller ones and use a grill topper or veggie basket so they won’t slip through your cooking grates.  

4 Lebanese cucumbers (or 1 small long English cucumber),

finely diced (leave the skin on)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1 orange, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced

olive oil

vanilla vinegar (or your favourite mild white vinegar)

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh mint, finely chopped

12 large scallops

sesame sea salt (optional; make it by combining sea salt and toasted sesame seeds in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor)

Combine the cucumber, bell peppers, and onion in a medium-sized bowl. Make a vinaigrette by mixing the juice and zest of all the citrus, the jalapeño, a tiny bit of the olive oil, the vinegar, and the salt and pepper. Toss the vinaigrette with the diced vegetables, and mix in the mint. Easy as that! Chill it until serving time.

            Preheat the grill on medium-high for 510 minutes, or until the chamber temperature rises above 500°F | 260°C. Season the scallops with a little kosher salt, drizzle them with olive oil, and place them on the grill, keeping the heat on medium-high. Cover the grill and cook the scallops for 1 or 2 minutes, then turn them and cook them for another couple of minutes, until the scallops are springy to the touch.

            Serve the scallops hot over the chilled cucumber salad and finish the dish with a few drops of olive oil and a light sprinkle of sesame sea salt, if desired.

(Photo by the incomparable John Sinal. Copyright John Sinal Photography, used with permission.)