About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.


Salads Archives

March 12, 2011

La Grande Insalata Mista


What a great way to kick off the salad chapter! This mixed raw salad has a variety of colors, tastes and textures. I used mixed Italian greens, Boston lettuce and arugula. There was also fennel, a yellow pepper, celery heart, carrots, red onion, and tomatoes. I decided to skip the artichoke, as it was large, and we ate it another night with our dinner.

Other ingredients can be included: cabbage, radicchio, radishes, cucumber, or zucchini. Choose based on taste, what is available and in season.

I appreciated how Marcella includes in this recipe a detailed explanation of how to clean, slice, or prep each vegetable.


The salad is sprinkled with salt, tossed, with a pour of good olive oil. A dash of red wine vinegar is added, and the salad is served! It is so PRETTY!


March 13, 2011

Garlic-Scented Tomato Salad

This is a variation on the main dish that Michael and I live on all summer long. We are crazy about fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. In good years I manage to grow my own tomatoes and basil. On the years that the squirrels steal all of my tomatoes then I still have fresh homegrown basil. We usually dress this with balsamic vinegar, garlic, a good extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. On those days when we want a variation on the theme we use a great balsamic vinegar that we have that has a dark cherry flavor and then leave out the garlic. Anyway, I was excited to try this recipe since I knew we would love it.


This recipe starts with marinating crushed garlic and salt with red wine vinegar for about a half an hour. Then you peel the tomatoes, slice them thinly, and arrange on a platter. Add fresh basil to the top. Strain the garlic out of the vinegar and then pour the garlic flavored vinegar on the tomatoes. Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil and then serve.


Our local grocery has just started carrying heirloom tomatoes all year round. I love the different flavors and textures that the varieties have. They also are very high quality, which is unusual for tomatoes in our area at this time of year. Most of the tomatoes that we get are mealy and tasteless. I was glad that I could try this recipe with tomatoes that were exceptional.

Okay, you know what I am going to say next. I love this recipe. I will definitely be adding this to the rotation this summer. It has a strong garlic kick, but I love garlic. The flavor combination of the tomatoes and basil just sang. Another winner.

March 14, 2011

Shredded Carrot Salad


This salad is nothing like the mayonnaise laden, raisin studded buffet fixture. This is easy to make with few ingredients: carrots, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. The salad tastes like carrots but the lemon juice and salt brightens the flavor a bit. It’s simple and nutritious.

March 15, 2011

Finocchio Salad

The fewer the ingredients, it seems to me, the more important each one becomes. Since you can't get 'fewer' than one and still have any dish at all, the finocchio is pretty important to this one.


I tried my hand at growing my own fennel last summer. At the time I didn't know there was a difference in the taste between "male" & "female" bulbs. In fact, I didn't even realize that fennel wasn't asexual. Fortuantely for me, my little deck garden produced both.


Here's what Marcella has to say about selecting fennel bulbs: "Italian's distinguish between male and female finocchio, the first with a stocky, round blub, the latter flat and elongated. The "male" is crisper and less stringy, and it has a finer scent, qualities that are particularly desirable when it is to be eaten raw."


Preparing fennel salad is a study in simplicity. Choose one or two "male" bulbs (depending on size). Trim and wash, then slice into very thin slices. Since I'm not exactly a pro with my knife skills, I used a mandolin for control and uniformity. Soak in cold water and dry.


Toss in a serving bowl with salt, enough olive oil to coat it well, and add plenty of fresh ground pepper. That's it, folks. One main ingredient, a little salt, a little pepper, and olive oil. But I promise, if you try this salad, it will become an instant favorite.


March 17, 2011

Shredded Savoy Cabbage Salad


Today is my first salad post. The salad is a very simple one - Shredded Savoy Cabbage Salad. One thing that is a little different about this salad is the way you infuse a subtle garlic scent to the salad. You take a couple of crusts of bread, and rub crushed garlic on them. You then place that bread in a bowl along with shredded Savoy cabbage, and let it sit for about 1 hour. Then, you remove the bread, and toss the cabbage with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little red wine vinegar. That's it! If you like cabbage, and want a simple healthy salad, this one's for you.

March 18, 2011

Romaine Lettuce Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Walnuts

Fresh and simple salads... just in time for Spring!
This is a salad that is so simple and so full of flavor. It goes with almost any dish.
Romaine Lettuce Salad with Gorgonzla Cheese and Walnuts
Use the tender crunchy leaves of a head of Romaine Lettuce. The dressing is made with Olive Oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Bits of the Gorgonzola are blended into the oil and vinegar.
The salad is then assembled by tossing in the dressing~ then topped with walnuts and more cheese.
Next time I make it I am also going to include some slices of pear.
Ciao y'all~

March 19, 2011

Orange and Cucumber Salad

. . . and here we are in the salad section.

My first recipe to make is this Orange and Cucumber salad which I am told is a classic Sicilian preparation - Sicily being the source of some of Italy's best citrus fruit. When I first looked at the recipe I wasn't too sure about the combination of oranges, cucumbers, radishes, and mint. However, Marcella has rarely led us astray so off I went to the store to purchase my ingredients.

I decided to buy blood oranges for this salad - a) I like the colour, b) love the flavour, and c) they were form Italy (so much for reducing the environmental footprint of the food that appears on the dinner table - sigh).

This salad is quick to pull together. The various ingredients are cleaned, peeled, sliced, and layered on a platter (we made individual salads) just prior to serving. A simple dressing is all that is left - salt, olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice. The recipe calls for tossing the salad with the dressing but I decided to layer it for a more attractive presentation.

This was an amazing salad - the flavours really worked together and the taste was refreshing.

We first served this with a meal of slow roasted lamb shanks in a heavy red wine sauce - the salad being the perfect complement for such a heavy meal. I've made it a number of times since and we are never disappointed at the refreshing burst of flavour it brings to the table.

March 20, 2011

Pinzimonio-Olive Oil, Salt, and Black Pepper Dip for Raw Vegetables

This recipe again demonstrates the strength of Marcella’s cookbooks. The recipe is very simple. It is just fresh vegetables that are arranged pleasingly and then served with a saucer of good olive oil with some freshly ground salt and black pepper sprinkled on top. If I was writing the recipe down, that is about what I would have written. However, Marcella is never content to leave it at that. She brought in the history of the dish, as well as the name. Did you know that pinzimonio is a combination of the Italian words for pinching (pinzare) and marrying (matrimonio)? The reason that these two words are used is because you pinch the vegetable as you hold it and then it is married to the olive oil when it is dipped in. I love knowing that. If I ever make it to Jeopardy! I hope that there is a “little known facts of Italian cooking” category because after spending this time with the cookbook I think I could win that one! Of course if any of the other pomodori were up against me then it would be a toss up because we have all learned so much this year.


This had a beautiful presentation. It is another example of the power of simplicity. I really enjoyed all of the vegetables served this way, but I especially loved the fennel with the olive oil mixture.

March 21, 2011

Panzanella - Bread Salad

Panzanella is a salad made with toasted bread and vegetables tossed in vinegar & oil based dressing. This recipe included yellow sweet bell pepper, cucumber, onion, salt, garlic, black pepper, capers, anchovies and tomatoes. I made this recipe last summer when tomatoes were at their peak. In addition to the bright red slicing tomato, I was able to find two heirloom tomatoes. The first was a red one the color of fresh meat. The second was the color of champagne. Once the skin was removed both were translucent like stained glass.

The best way to describe this salad is balance. It has the right mix of salty, sweet and pungent. The texture was a balance of soft & chewy, and crisp & crunchy. It tastes like the Summer’s essence. The only thing that would have made this better is a warm breeze from across the salty sea.


March 22, 2011

Cannellini Bean Salad


Cannellini Bean Salad is one of those comfort foods that you didn't realize you were craving until the sauce hits the heat of the freshly boiled beans and you smell the fishy, salty anchovy, the rich egg yoke, and the tangy red wine vinegar.


Although the ingredients are more than a few, it is a simple preparation. In addition to the Anchovy, egg, and vinegar you need onion, parsley, sage and olive oil. Very finely chop the anchovy, onion, parsley, & sage. then pulse together with the egg, oil, & vinegar until they have a creamy consistency.


Tossed with the still hot beans and fresh cracked black pepper the salad sits at room temperature for about an hour to allow the flavors to steep. Toss again and serve with your favorite entrée.

Or, do what I did -- sit down in front of the television with a bowl full and make it your entire entrée.


March 24, 2011

Asparagus Salad


You're probably realizing by now that most Italian salads are very simple. Here's another one to add to your files - Asparagus Salad. Marcella says that when asparagus is at it's peak in Italy, the favorite way to serve it is boiled, as a salad. She says to serve this salad while it's still lukewarm.

You begin by prepping your asaragus. Wash it, cut off the bottom tough 1" or so of the stems, then peel the bottom part of the stalk. This leaves just the tender asparagus. You then boil the asparagus until tender, then drain. After it's well drained, you salt and pepper it, coat it generously with olive oil, and sprinkle on some red wine vinegar. Then you eat and enjoy!

March 25, 2011

Green Bean Salad

So simple. So delicious. So Marcella.

All you do is find some nice fresh green beans, snap them and soak them in water for about 10 minutes.


Boil them in salted water until tender but not crunchy.
Toss them with some nice olive oil, salt and a squirt of lemon juice. (Be sure to stop and smell the olive oil as it hits the hot beans.)
Eat the salad while it's still a bit warm.


March 26, 2011

Baked Red Beets


I originally made this recipe in the fall when I made THE. BEST. RECIPE. IN. THE. BOOK. . . . pork loin in vinegar with bay leaves. It was a wonderful addition to the meal.

Through a strange twist of fate I had a similar dish last week at one of my favourite Greek restaurants in Toronto's Greektown. There it was called Pantzaria and it consisted of baked red beets with red wine vinegar, crushed garlic, and olive oil. The timing couldn't have been better because I confess that my memories of this salad from last fall have grown dim . . . (Sandi, thank you for NOT commenting that I am just plain dim, bad girl) last week's refresher has reminded me again of how wonderful this dish is. Of course, Marcella's version was more nuanced than what I enjoyed in Greektown.

To bring this to the table one really only needs a few steps - first the beets are carefully cleaned (as always Marcella gives clear and concise instructions for preparing the vegetable properly), roasted, the blackened skins removed, sliced, and tossed with oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Simple, easy, and bloody delicious.

If you have not yet tried roasted beets you are in for a revelation - roasting them brings out the natural sugars in the beet and you are left with an incredibly delicious treat. Marcella writes that you will 'swoon over (the taste) if you have never had them before'.

Yes, you will swoon.

We've been roasting beets for years. In fact, it is the only way we'll prepare beets. I suspect that once you try this dish it will be the only way that you prepare beets in the future too. I have roasted beets and served them to folks who despise beets. They have asked for seconds and taken the leftovers home.

This is why I always double the quantity whenever I roast beets.

This wonderfully simple, yet incredibly delicious, salad would work equally as well as a vegetable served alongside roasted meats.

March 27, 2011

Beet Tops Salad

I love finding a new recipe that lets me enjoy something that I usually discard. In the past I would just cut off the tops of the beets, toss them in the trash, and either roast or boil the beets. What a waste that was. It just never occurred to me to save and cook the tops. I am so glad that I now know better.

This is another simple salad which allows us to savor the individual ingredients. It starts with the stems of the beet. They are snapped and boiled for about eight minutes before the leaves are added into the water. Once the leaves are tender, everything is drained and then mixed with good extra virgin olive oil, salt, and lemon. That’s it. You can serve it along with the cooked beets, but you don’t have to.


I found the flavor to be incredible. It was somewhat similar to spinach, but it had an intensity that I really liked. Another lesson learned on this incredible journey that we are all on.

March 28, 2011

Warm Cauliflower Salad

This salad is very simple to prepare. First a head of Cauliflower boiled in water until tender. Next, the water is drained and the florets separated. The Cauliflower is immediately tossed with salt, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. The warm florets absorb the flavors well. If you are looking to give this mild tasting vegetable a little zest this is the recipe for you.


March 31, 2011

Boiled Zucchini Salad


I love zucchini. It's one of my favorite vegetables. When I saw the name of this salad though-it just didn't excite me - Boiled Zucchini Salad. I'm not sure why it didn't sound very good. But I was wrong. It was another simple salad where the taste of the vegetable really shines.

You boil whole small zucchini until they're tender. Drain them, slice the ends off, and cut in half. Then rub the cut surfaces with smashed garlic cloves. After the zucchini has drained, you drizzle it with extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped Italian parsley. That's it. Another one for you to try. Just make sure you wait until you can get fresh, tender zucchini - you'll enjoy it more that way.

April 1, 2011


My challenge this week was to build an Insalatone. In Marcella's own words this is a 'magnificent cooked salad'.
It can be served at room temperature or still warm, with a light toss of good olive oil and rich red wine vinegar, a little coarse salt and ground black pepper... Quanto basta. All of the vegetables need to be cooked according to it's needs. Peppers are roasted over a flame for easy peeling. Beets are roasted until sweet and tender, then peeled. (For some unknown reason I could only find golden beets, even though two days ago they had plenty of red beets!)The onions are roasted in their skins then quartered. Potatoes and green beans are cooked until tender.You can see that this is a beautiful plate of vegetables; with the perfect seasonings to let the flavors shine
Ciao Y'all~

April 2, 2011

Beans and Tuna Salad

This simple salad consists of only a few ingredients: cannellini beans, some sweet onion, Italian tuna packed in olive oil, salt, black pepper, a dash of red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil!

I have had a love affair with Italian tuna for years, since I first tasted it. Every trip, I bring home at least a dozen cans. The last time I did so, a week later, there it was in my very own local grocery store! I still bring home a few cans "just in case"!

I made a double batch of this salad for house guests for lunch, and it was quite a hit!


April 3, 2011

Seafood Salad

It's me, the sub again. This time I'm filling in for Beth. Personally, I think Beth took one look at all the steps involved in this recipe and ran for the hills (only kidding Beth ;D).

Today, I'm making the Seafood Salad. I'm a big fan of seafood, but unfortunately, on a cold, rainy day in the northeast, I was in the mood more for a chowder then a room temperature salad, but oh well.

First, I started off with a call to Whole Foods, to make sure they had all the necessary ingredients before I made the 25 minute trek in the rain (I was really most concerned that they had whole calamari aka squid). I chose to use Whole Food's seafood section over our local fish store because since Mat, the previous owner, sold it several years ago, I just haven't found the quality of the seafood up to snuff.

So off I went to Whole Foods to gather my ingredients, whole squid (which luckily came already cleaned), shrimp, clams, mussels and scallops. The recipe also called for octopus but we were in no danger of getting that today or really any day (I'm just not a big fan) and since Marcella gave me the option to skip it, I did.


Once home, everything went into the fridge. By the way, when you by mussels and clams, you should be aware that they're still alive so you never want to put them in the fridge in a sealed container - they need to breathe.

About 5ish we started to work (I forced Chris to help - he cleaned the clams and mussels - I'm never very good at that). It's not a complicated recipe but it's a long recipe - why? Because you need to cook the squid in a pot (by the way, I overcooked them - they cook really quick and if you go even a minute too long, well, they're tough). You have to cook the shrimp in a pot. You have to cook the scallops in another pot. You have to cook the clams and mussels in a broad pan (I did them together but the mussels cooked quicker, fyi). So that's 3 pots and another pan of some sort and if you had the octopus, well that would be 5 pots/pans total! That's a lot of cleanup.

Then, what's that all done, you skin a pepper (not sure why), smash some garlic and mix it all together (after the mussels and clams have rested). Then you douse it all with some olive oil and lemon juice (don't be stingy) as well as salt and some grounds of pepper. Then it sits on the counter for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

I think we finally ate around 7:15 - 7:30 or so.

Seafood Salad

Here's what I thought - I'm not sure I'd make it again unless I get a better fish monger with the absolute freshest seafood ingredients. Even then it's a lot of work for something I can't prep ahead of time and refrigerate and serve later (Marcella is adamant about making sure this salad doesn't see the inside of a fridge. I can understand that - chilled would probably dull the natural flavors). Though, perhaps some variation might show up this summer, sans calamari, and with some crushed red pepper thrown in somewhere.

April 4, 2011

Rice and Chicken Salad

The salad I made today is a meal in itself. It is a colorful mix of the following flavorful ingredients.

Long grain white rice
Dijon Mustard
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fontina Cheese
Black Greek Olives
Green Olives
Red Sweet Bell Pepper
Cornichons (sour cucumber pickles)
Boiled Chicken Breast

The rice is cooked, rinsed and drained. The next four ingredients are mixed together before being tossed with the remaining diced ingredients. Done.

The final result is a hearty salad with a nice blend of elements. Each forkful provides a sweet, nutty, tangy and salty flavor combination. Easy to make and full of texture, this room temperature salad would make a good choice for a picnic or buffet.



April 5, 2011

Leftover Boiled Beef Salad


when it was time to make this dish, I didn't happen to have any leftover boiled beef in the fridge. I remedied that problem with a nice three-pound piece of chuck roast. Generally following the recipe for Bollito Misto from page 405, I just left the misto part out and used beef alone. After setting aside the pound of cooked meat needed for this assignment, there was enough left for a huge pot of vegetable beef soup - which we've been enjoying for several days.

I wanted a more traditional "salad" feel, and decided to use the first of Marcella's several optional recommendations -- serving the sliced beef over a bed of celery sliced very, very thin. Since I was using that beautiful delicate green celery, I chose to use lemon juice instead of red wine vinegar for the acid.


After slicing the beef, coating it with olive oil, and seasoning with salt I arranged it atop the sliced celery on a serving platter. The final touch was a liberal grinding of fresh black pepper.


This makes about four generous sized servings. We enjoyed ours as the starter of a menu that included wonderful Walnut Cake from page 588. I'll be reporting on that in a couple of weeks.


This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Pomodori e Vino in the Salads category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Risotto is the previous category.

Soups is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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