"Mindy's salads are just the sort I like to make a meal of. Her book is brimming with good practices, exciting recipes and beautiful photography." So says celebrated cookbook author, Heidi Swanson, of Mindy Fox's brand new collection of truly extraordinary and inspiring salad recipes. Filled with 100 gorgeous photographs and creative easy recipes such as Green Melon, Cubanelle Peppers and Ricotta Salata; Red Kale Caeser with Mustard Croutons and Smoked Trout; Potato Salad with Melted Leeks and Blue Cheese; and Peanut Soba and Chicken Salad with Lime, Beyond the Bowl shows you just how beautiful and nourishing a life of great salad eating can be.
Fox's book is filled with healthy recipes, yes - but equally exciting is that, thorough this book, Fox show us just how delicious and show-stopping a well-made salad can be. Inspired by seasonal offerings, Fox pairs produce of all sorts with grains, beans, legumes, cheeses, fish and meat to create extraordinary salads that serve as starter or main dishes for everyday eating, whether at brunch, lunch or dinner.
Like every facet of cooking, making a truly extraordinary salad involves a little craft and basic know-how. In Beyond the Bowl, Fox gives vegetarians and meat-eaters alike the basics of great salad-making, then offers a collection of 100 recipes for inspired salads, with flavor nuances from a variety of cuisines.
It should come as little surprise that as someone who frequently eats salads that I should read and write about them fairly often as well . When I started reading this book while awaiting a banquet before which I would speak, my fondness for reading a cookbook about salads drew a great deal of interest and critique. I'm not sure why people would think it odd that I would want to read about food, especially as salads present themselves as a healthy sort of food that can be tasty in the hands of someone sufficiently creative like myself. And yet I find that my fondness for salads does tend to draw a great deal of interest and sometimes perhaps even a bit of suspicion that something is quite unusual about me that I would read about salads. At any rate, I don't feel any need to apologize about it. If you like eating salads and enjoy making them frequently and buying them even more frequently, you should not object to someone reading about them. In addition to this, unlike some books about salads, this one actually has quite a few odd salads I would be very willing to try.
In terms of its size, this book at slightly less than 200 pages and full of pictures is not a difficult one for anyone to read. More difficult will be identifying the various ingredients listed and where one can find them, although the author (a New Yorker, in case it is not already obvious from her hipster tastes) gives some comments on how these ingredients may be sourced at the end of the book. In terms of its structure, the book is divided into several chapters, with elemental salads, leaf salads, eggs, potatoes, and pasta, beans, grains, and legumes, fish, poultry and game, and meat making up the seven different types of salad included here. Many of the ingredients included are highly exotic and not likely to be found in many places, but in general one can say that the ideas for the salad allow for at least some flexibility for those who are willing to experiment with the combinations of materials available to them and within their dietary constraints. By and large, I did not think that this author was trying to kill me with her salad recipes and there were some I am pretty interested in trying, like: freekeh salad with fava beans, grilled asparagus, and roasted lemon; potato and snap pea salad with garlic and parsley-lemon pesto, a no mayo purple potato salad with scallions, tarragon, and basil; shaved brussels sprouts, olive oil, lemon, and peppered sheep's milk cheese, and roast sharmoula chicken, cauliflower, and arugula among them.
While this book is certainly not a flawless one, it certainly is a good one. Readers who do not mind the author being unusually specific and unusually obscure in her taste of cheeses and fruits and vegetables will likely find much to enjoy and appreciate here. The author shows a fondness for vinegar and sea salt and pepper, and clearly knows that salads are supposed to have vegetables and/or fruits involved. There are, thankfully, no embarrassing attempts at molded salads here. Likewise, despite her obscure tastes, the author can be praised for not trying to make every salad one that betrays the ideals of those who enjoy vegetables for their own sake. So either this book can be praised for what it is not, and that is a shallow attempt to make salads appealing to those who do not like salads, which makes sense given this book is written by and for hipsters who are familiar with and fond of particularly obscure vegetables. If you are that sort of person, you likely know it already.
The best salad book you can buy. So creative, yet the ingredients are not crazy out-of-reach for the average person living wherever. Blueberries, feta and mint? Why didn't I think of that? My all-time fave salad in this book is one with shrimp, quick-pickled purple onions (great color!) and black bean salad.
I recommend this cookbook to all my salad-loving friends (since I live in Los Angeles, that means all my friends).
I picked up this book looking for something different and this book provides that variety. Ms. Fox utilizes grains, greens, meats & cheeses outside a typical house salad. Some recipes will be familiar but others are innovative. A good addition to the cookbook shelf of those looking to incorporate more greens into their menus.
This book delivers what it promises - very different salad recipes. I made:
- Red oak lettuce with spiced popcorn, drunken cherries and goat gouda - Watermelon salad with feta cheese, fresh herb leaves and two chiles - Lentils, grilled radicchio and chorizo - Tabbouleh with fennel and grapes - Panzanella di faro (Tuscan bread salad and farro) - Potato salad and charred poblano peppers, sweet corn and crema
While I don't think that I will put popcorn in salad again, I liked that this cookbook got me to experiment with food again. I also liked that many of the salads are hearty, complete meal salads. This book encouraged healthy, tasty eating. It is a good recommendation for people who like international ingredients and bold flavors.
Written by the food editor of La Cucina Italiana, one of the best foodie magazines out there, this book offers a lot of inspiration for new twists on preparing a salad that won't easily be side-lined by the main entrée. Indeed, there are plenty of salads here that could serve as the star of the meal, and the base ingredients go way beyond romaine vs. iceberg. It could use a few more photos, but the fact that she dared include a salad recipe that featured popcorn won my heart - something I've always wanted to do but didn't dare try!
I have always wanted to incorporate salads into my daily eating routine, so this book is great for new ideas. Not to mention, the photos are lovely. I think it says a lot about a photo when it can get you to crave lettuce!