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Salads for manly men

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Fried Chicken & Potato Salad Serves 1 1 boneless chicken breast, patted dry with a paper towel Salt and pepper to taste 4 ounces flour, seasoned with salt and pepper 1 quart oil for frying (any oil will do, says Pena) 1 Idaho or russet potato 4 ounces ranch dressing 2 ounces baked beans Tabasco sauce or preferred hot sauce, to taste 3 ounces romaine lettuce, chopped 3 ounces iceberg lettuce, chopped 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded 5 cherry tomatoes, halved 1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and coat evenly with the flour. 2. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the chicken for about 5 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Keep warm. 3. Using a mandoline, cut the potato into strings about the width of spaghetti. Deep fry immediately, then dust with salt and pepper and set aside. 4. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ranch dressing and baked beans, and add the hot sauce to taste. 5. To assemble, drizzle a little dressing on the bottom of a plate and top with lettuces, cheese and tomatoes. Add remainder of dressing. Thinly slice the fried chicken and add to salad, then top with the potato strings piled high. Dash pepper and more hot sauce on top to taste.
Lobster and Shrimp Louie Salad Serves 4 1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp, diced 1/2 pound cooked lobster, diced 3 tablespoons red bell pepper, finely diced 2 tablespoons celery, finely diced 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 3/4 cup mayonnaise Juice from 1/2 lemon Pinch of dry tarragon Salt and pepper to taste 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped 1 large avocado, thinly sliced 1 carrot, thinly sliced 2 radishes, thinly sliced 4 hard boiled eggs, halved 2 ripe tomatoes, quartered into wedges 1 1/4 cups Louie dressing (recipe follows) 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped 1. Place shrimp, lobster, bell pepper, celery, onion, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon, tarragon, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine and refrigerate for 1 hour. 2. Divide romaine lettuce across four chilled plates and top each with thinly sliced avocado and 1/4 of the prepared lobster and shrimp salad. 3. Garnish the rim of each plate with carrots, radishes, hard-boiled eggs and tomato wedges. 4. Drizzle Louie dressing over all salads and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Louie Dressing Makes 1 1/4 cups 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup ketchup 2 tablespoons brandy Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Keep covered and chilled until ready to serve.
Venison Loin, Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Salad Makes 4 servings 8 ounces venison loin Salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 Parker County peaches, pitted and thickly sliced 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled 1 1/2 ounces herb vinaigrette (recipe follows) 1/2 ounce microgreens 1. Season venison with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a very hot pan and sear venison, rotating every minute until all sides are caramelized. Let rest. 2. Grill peaches on both sides until grill marks are achieved. 3. To assemble, fan tomatoes on serving plates and top with grilled peaches and goat cheese crumbles, then drizzle with vinaigrette. Thinly slice the venison loin then divide across salads. Garnish with microgreens.
Herb Vinaigrette Makes about 1 cup 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1 cup extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper to taste Add all ingredients, except oil, salt and pepper, to a blender. Blend on high for 1 minute, then slowly add oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cowboy Cobb Serves 1 2 cups baby romaine lettuce, chopped 2 ounces avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows) 5 ounces marinated and grilled flat iron steak (recipe follows) 3 slices applewood smoked bacon, fried and cut into large pieces 1 hard-boiled egg, halved lengthwise Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste 1/4 avocado, sliced lengthwise 3 marinated heirloom tomato quarters (recipe follows) 5 jalapeño croutons (recipe follows) 1 ounce chive goat cheese (recipe follows) Assembly: 1. Toss lettuce with dressing in a large serving bowl. Top with grilled steak slices and bacon. 2. Season the hard-boiled egg halves with salt and pepper, and add to salad. 3. Add avocado slices, marinated tomato quarters, chive goat cheese and jalapeño croutons to the bowl and serve.
Marinated Flat Iron Steak Makes 1 steak 5 ounces flat iron steak 1 chipotle pepper, chopped 1 teaspoon garlic, minced 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced 1 tablespoon yellow onion, minced 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper 1 teaspoon lime juice 1. Coat steak in all ingredients and marinate for one day. 2. Before grilling, bring steak to room temperature. Grill for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing across the grain. Keep warm.
Avocado Ranch Dressing Makes 10 ounces 8 ounces ranch dressing 1/2 cup arugula, chopped 1 avocado, peeled and pitted 1 tablespoon lime juice Blend all ingredients using an emulsion blender or food processor. Store in airtight container and keep chilled until ready to use. Note that not all dressing will be used in one salad serving.
Marinated Tomato Makes 1 tomato 1 heirloom tomato, quartered 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped 1/4 cup olive oil 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar Dash Kosher salt Dash fresh cracked black pepper Pinch lemon zest Coat tomato in all ingredients, cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Jalapeno Croutons Makes 5 croutons 1 jalapeño 2 cups canola oil 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup flour Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste 1. Slice jalapeño at an angle to create 5 thick pieces 2. Heat oil in a small sauce pan. 3. Dip jalapeño slices in buttermilk, then coat with flour. 4. Deep fry until golden and brown. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels, then dust with salt and pepper to taste.
Chive Goat Cheese Makes 8 ounces 8 ounces goat cheese Zest from 1 lemon 1 garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped Sea salt to taste Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl and keep chilled. Note that not all goat cheese will be used in one salad serving, but this recipe keeps well for use in additional dishes.

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Commonly considered by men as a dainty precursor to the “real” meal, the salad is all too often quickly consumed in anticipation of what’s to come next — at least by the guys we know. And if a man orders a salad as his entrée, he must be on a diet — why else would he risk being poked fun at for eating “rabbit food?” But four local chefs, all pretty manly (if we do say so) set out to debunk the perception that salads are girly grub to be served at baby showers and bridal luncheons. They share recipes here for hearty, hefty versions that will please the manliest of meat-eaters. Even more, all four salads make terrific lake-day menu items, as components can easily be packed up or finished off on a lakeside grill. Prepare to be satisfied in just one course.

Celestina Blok is a Fort Worth food news writer and graduate of the Culinary School of Fort Worth.

JOEL PENA, EXECUTIVE CHEF

THE SPEEDWAY CLUB AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Joel Pena has cooked at some of the biggest sporting events in the world, including the Kentucky Derby, the NBA All-Star game and the Super Bowl. Now the Salvadoran chef is adding spice to the Speedway Club menu by turning up the heat in traditional dishes. Here, Pena creates a mountain of a manly meal using fried chicken, shoestring potatoes and a hot sauce-infused baked bean ranch dressing. It’s like an entire lakeside picnic on one plate. 3545 Lone Star Circle, Fort Worth, 817-215-8550, www.thespeedwayclub.com.

DOMINICK SIMONETTI, EXECUTIVE CHEF

DADDY JACK’S LOBSTER & CHOWDER HOUSE

Daddy Jack’s longtime signature salad, the creamy lobster and shrimp Louie, is perfect to pack in a cooler for a summer day trip, as the flavors continue to meld as the salad chills. Same goes for the Louie dressing, a simple blend of mayo and ketchup kicked up with brandy. Chef Dominick Simonetti of the Sundance Square location, known simply as “Dom” to regulars, amplifies the filling factor of this salad with hard-boiled eggs and avocado slices. 353 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, 817-332-2477; 355 N. Carroll Ave., Southlake, 817-442-0963, www.daddyjacks.org.

ERIC HUNTER, EXECUTIVE CHEF & OWNER

FIRE OAK GRILL

A salad instantly becomes manly if wild game is involved. Add more macho points if any of the salad components are grilled. Eric Hunter does both in his venison loin tomato salad with grilled peaches. The Fire Oak Grill chef uses local Parker County peaches, as June is the time to do so (although because of spring freezes in March, this year’s crop is expected to be a bit sparse, so be sure to snag a bushel if you find one). Men can consider themselves even more masculine in preparing this salad if the venison comes from their own hunting pursuit. 114 Austin Ave., Weatherford, 817-598-0400, www.fireoakgrill.com.

KEITH GROBER, EXECUTIVE CHEF

RODEO GOAT

Everything about Rodeo Goat’s protein-packed Cowboy Cobb is huge, from the man-sized components (including flat iron steak and chicken fried jalapeno “croutons”) to the punch of powerful flavor in every bite. Executive chef Keith Grober, who has extensive tenure at other Wynne family restaurant kitchens including Fort Worth’s Flying Saucer and Dallas’ Meddlesome Moth, says his manly cobb creation is a fulfilling alternative to burgers and fries. When preparing at home, Grober can’t overemphasize the importance of seasoning — from packing the goat cheese with chives and garlic to heavily dusting the boiled eggs with salt and cracked pepper. 2836 Bledsoe St., Fort Worth, 817-877-4628, www.rodeogoat.com.

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