09 June 2010

Meatless Monday - Warmed By The Sun Mesclun Greens, Warm Vegetables, Aioli Dressing

Welcome to my world ...

The first few days of summer give me my last chance to get the last of the annuals into the garden's empty spots and tend to the perennials. The deerflies and skeeters will be coming on strong as soon as the heat builds, so I've really got to pull out all the stops and get the cultivating, planting, weeding, dead-heading and watering done. It's a good move to push it and get all this done, because there will soon be days when you won't be able to move around the yard without enough bug dope to make a Dupont chemist euphoric.

After all the digging and delving, though, it's hard to think about cooking or doing much more than getting into a shower, grabbing clean clothes and a cold beer. But still, that garden calls. There are mesclun greens and they won't be around long. The heat of summer will wilt them and they will 'bolt'  and go to seed.

So... this evening calls for a warm salad. In this recipe, the peppery, bitter greeniness goes well with the mellow sweetness of a vegetable saute.  Add a strong garlic-y aioli dressing that can stand up to the strength of the greens and you have a nice warm summertime salad. There are so many textures on this plate ... the smooth sweetness of carmelized onion, tender crisp crunch of peppers, soft tenderness of sauteed zucchini, and the two different textures of the greens - some crunch and some wilted  smoothness. It's warm and garlic goodness... almost like the sun has warmed that plate and I suppose, in a way, it has!

Warning: Use no salt or pepper in dressing or saute. Let your dining partners decide for themselves. The greens (if they are the same greens we planted) are so peppery strong that some folks might not want extra seasoning.

Spring Greens With Sauteed Vegetables

4 large handfuls mesclun greens, washed and spun dry
2 small zucchini squash, washed and sliced into coins
1/4 sweet white onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 medium sweet red pepper
1/2 medium sweet yellow pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. mayonaisse
2 cloves garlic, minced and sauteed in a bit of butter
2 tbsp. milk
2 oz. cream cheese, warm

Making the Salad:

1. Wash and spin the greens. Toss them in a large salad bowl and set aside.

2. Saute garlic in a small amount of butter and set aside.

3. Prepare the vegetables and saute them in the olive oil.

4. Remove from heat when they are tender crisp, leave in pan and set aside.

5. Mix the mayo, warm garlic, milk, and cream cheese in small bowl. Mix with a hand blender until smooth. Microwave for just about 20 seconds on a high setting to warm (watch it carefully.)

6. Minutes before you want to eat, re-heat the vegetables and turn them onto the greens, drizzle with the warm aioli dressing and serve immediately.

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