GOOD GREEN FUN
Salads have come into their own as lunch specials and even mains for a light, health-conscious dinner. Summer’s bounty gives chefs a chance to rise above lettuce and tomato.
The meat-lover in your family may still dismiss salads as “rabbit food”, but their wholesome goodness offers something for everyone. Beijing chef Camila Betin of Factory says her favorite summer fruits allow her to create “a great combination of sweet, acid and nutty flavors that are fabulous for a light summer lunch”. Meanwhile, taking inspiration from China’s arguably most famous poultry dish — roast duck, Hakkasan’s signature salad is based on deep-fried and deboned duck and topped with a haze of frilly greens. We asked several creative chefs in the capital and in Shanghai to share how they take advantage of seasonal produce at this time of year — some are lush and leafy, others spare and elemental. You can follow your nose to their restaurants, or take inspiration from the photos and recipes here and try them at home.
1 Black Pepper Crusted Tuna Salad
From chef David Jean Marteau, general secretary. Disciples Escoffier International, China delegation
1 purple potato ½ orange sweet potato 1 small regular potato 4 tablespoons ground black pepper 4 fresh tuna steaks, 1 cmthick ½ cup halves red cherry tomatoes, skinless ½ cup (125 ml) pitted black olives ¼ cup slivered red radish 1 tsp anchovy paste ¼ cup fresh green peas 1 tsp red wine vinegar 4 quail eggs, poached Salt and pepper, to taste 12 fresh basil tips 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cut the potatoes into small wedges and shape them like olives. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until done. Drain and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green peas and cook until done. Drain and cool under cold running water. Pat dry and set aside.
In a large plate, place the ground black pepper, and crust the tuna steaks on all sides.
In a medium-size non-stick saucepan over medium heat, sear the tuna steaks on each side for about 30 seconds. Remove the steaks from the heat and set aside, then cool for 10 minutes. Cut each steak into thin slices.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the black olives, the slivered red radish, the anchovy paste and the green peas with the red-wine vinegar, half of the extra virgin olive, then add the salt and pepper. Check the seasoning.
On four separate flat plates, place all the ingredients evenly and nicely. Then add the poached quail eggs and the fresh basil tips. Drizzle each plate with the remaining of the extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4.
2 Nicoise Salad
From chef Jarrod Verbiak at Bistrot B, Rosewood Bei- jing hotel
Confit tuna pate: 120g tuna confit 20g mayonnaise 35g Nicoise olive 10g capers 5g parsley 10ml olive oil Finely chop the olives, capers and parsley. Mix well with the rest of the ingredients and allow the dish to chill for 30 minutes before being served.
Tuna spices: 100g coriander seed 20g paprika 10g chili pepper 10g fennel seed 5g cumin seed 10g orange peel (dry) Mix all the ingredients together and keep them in a dry, cool place.
Dressing de Provence: 150g garlic 100g shallot 80g Dijon mustard 300ml white vinegar 3g rosemary 1g lavender 2g tarragon 4g thyme 500ml olive oil Salt Chop the garlic and the shallot. Put the garlic, shallot, vinegar, mustard and chopped aromatic herbs into a mixing bowl. Add olive oil and incorporate with a whisk.
Making the salad: 120g tuna loin slice 10g Romaine lettuce 20g Boston lettuce 16g red radicchio lettuce 21g frisee lettuce 3g arugula 15g french bean 30g cherry tomato 30g baby potato 15g black olive 30g red and yellow bell pepper 10g red baby radish
Slice the tuna and marinate it with the spices in a very hot pan. Slightly pan-fry until the outside is a golden brown color but the inside remains red.
Ona plate, arrange the vegetables and green leaves; then top with the tuna confit and Provencal dressing. Serves 1.
3 Smoked Salmon Salad
From chef Samuele Rossi, Bella Vita (Tianjin and Shanghai)
Fresh fennel, thinly sliced Artichokes Cherry tomato, cut in 4 pieces Basil and mint, sliced Salt and black pepper Extra virgin olive oil Frisee lettuce 4 slices fresh salmon Capers Fresh mint leaves
Mix fennel, artichokes, tomato, herbs, salt, pepper and oil well with tongs, then put on a flat plate. Wash frissee lettuce well in ice water and drain; trim into small pieces and add around the salad plate. Place salmon slices on the top of salad, decorate with capers and fresh mint. Add ground fresh black pepper and extra-virgin oil for finishing, and serve. Serves 1.
4 Mango and Prawn Salad
From chef Goh Wooi Cheat, Dragon Palace, Kempinski Hotel (Beijing)
3 prawns 40g green papaya slices 40g green mango slices 20g onion slices 20g cucumber slices 10g assorted nuts (pistachios or pumpkin seeds)
For the dressing: 1 tsp lime juice 1 tsp plum sauce 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp fish sauce 1 tsp salt ½ tsp sesame oil
Bring the water to a boil and add the prawns, reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the prawns for 3-6 minutes, depending on their size. Cool down the prawns in cold water, then peel them.
Place lime juice, plum sauce, sesame oil, sugar, fish sauce and chilies (if you like) into a large bowl; whisk until sugar dissolves.
Place cucumber, onions, papaya and mango in a bowl, add the prawns and dressings, toss around 30 seconds until the papaya and onions become softer and completely absorb the dressing. Serves 1.
5 Prawn Tropical Salad
From chef Camila Betin at Factory Fresh, Beijing
10ml lemon juice 40ml passion fruit puree or passion fruit juice 15g honey 50ml extra virgin olive oil 5g spring onion, finely chopped 300g medium-size prawns, grilled 1 mango 6 slices pineapple 1 orange 20g almonds 300g kale Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing: Mix lemon juice, passion fruit juice, salt, pepper and honey. Slowly add the olive oil, beating with an egg whisk to emulsify. In the end add the spring onion. Reserve.
Arrange the chopped kale in a salad bowl, add the grilled prawns and the fruits. Pour the dressing and finish with the almonds on top. Serves 4-6.
6 Crispy Duck Salad
From Hakkasan (Shanghai)
60g shredded vegetable 150g deboned, deep-fried duck meat 5ml sesame oil 15ml duck sauce 20g pine nuts 10g shallot 150g pomelo 150g grapefruit 1g basil 1g red pepper 5g lemon leaf
Debone and deep-fry duck, combine liquid ingredients and spices, then toss or stack with other ingredients. The tender duck meat with wok-crisped edges is balanced perfectly by the sweet-sourness provided by the two types of citrus: pomelo from Chinese team and grapefruit from the West. Serves 1.
7 Summer Bounty
From Moka Bros (Beijing)
Cooked lentils Kale Green peas Pomegranate seeds Roasted carrot Onion Bell peppers Leek vinaigrette
Combine cooked and raw ingredients and toss with vinaigrette. The salad is part of a new menu designed to offer more vegan-friendly food — including superfoods like kale and pomegranate.
8 Layer Salad
From chef Marcus Medina, Q Mex (Beijing)
A thin layer of enchilada pie (lightly fried corn tortilla in guajillo chili sauce, topped with spiced black beans, and sour cream) Fresh avocado slices Pico de gallo Fresh tomato salad Creamy mozzarella Crispy greens Virgin olive oil Kalamata olives Balsamic vinegar
Prepare base layer of “enchilada pie” and then stack avocado, pico de gallo, tomato, mozzarella and greens in layers. (To get the cylinder effect, stack elements in a lightly oiled tube or can with the ends cut out, then remove tube.) Mix oil with a small amount of minced Kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar, and drizzle on salad.
Says chef Medina: “In Mexico, we have this tradition of making tacos, burritos, enchiladas and just stacking and stuffing things on top. Working in New York City, I saw many salads, be they round or square with similar architecture and I thought they were great. I just put my home Mexican elements to this type of salad and it seems to work.”