To paraphrase the ever-eloquent Jim E. Mora:
Salad?! Don’t talk about – salad?!. You kidding me! Salad?!
I know. It is negative holy-effing degrees outside for a good portion of you right now, and most of you want to hear about a salad almost as much as you want to hear about the outdoor frolicking of those of us who aren’t buried under 100 inches of snow.
But I have a suspicion. I reckon that some of you may be growing quite weary of your heavy comfort food hibernation and that the idea of bright, fresh produce may be as welcome to your day as a budding buttercup.
And if there ever was a salad to coax you out of bleary-eyed slumber it is one that embraces all the come-hither elements of a puttanesca sauce. You see, in the days of yore, the madams of the night cooked up a batch of puttanesca – a pungent, tomato-based pasta sauce – and then flung open the windows in order to, well, bring all the boys to the yard.
Though there are many variations, a traditional puttanesca sauce marries (or at least hooks up) the sweet and tangy flavors of tomato with the exotic saltiness of olives, capers and anchovies, and then lays them down on a bed of fresh pasta.
But it’s been months of pasta and casseroles now, and it’s time to start tickling that hope for warm spring breezes and cotton sundresses. So let’s keep all the big, sexy flavors, but transform them into a light and zesty dressing. And then we will add tender butter lettuce, crisp and subtle shallots, juicy fresh tomatoes and bold parmesan. Oh, and what the hell, we’ll keep a little pasta in the mix. What we end up with is one classy dame of a salad more than fit to grace your arm when your friend asks you to bring a side dish to her little get-together. Or throw on some roasted chicken or grilled shrimp and pair with a bodacious merlot for a dinner date.
So yes. Yes, I do believe we are going to talk about salad.
P.S. We just realized that it has been about eight months since this site went live and this is the first recipe that actually involves pickled capers.
Brazen Puttanesca Salad
Author: Pickled Capers Prep time: 20 mins Total time: 20 mins Serves: 3-4
- 1 head of Butter Lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- ½ C Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- ½ Shallot, sliced thin
- ½ C Pasta, cooked
- ¼ C Kalamata Olives, halved
- 1 T Pickled Capers
- Fresh Parmesan (garnish)
- ½ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 T Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 T Sundried Tomatoes in oil
- 1 tsp Deli Mustard
- 1 tsp Pickled Capers
- 3 T Kalamata Olive Brine
- ¼ tsp Anchovy Paste or 1 Anchovy Filet*
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt, to taste
- Place lettuce in salad bowl and top with remaining ingredients. No need to toss.
- Place all ingredients (except salt) in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt and more anchovy paste if needed. Drizzle over plated salad and garnish with freshly grated parmesan.
*This is a starting point. More can be added to taste if desired.