People generally think of a salad as a lighter bite, but if they consider Pascale Beale’s new cookbook, Salade, they’ll have to think heavy — the book weighs almost three pounds.
“If someone said to you, ‘Here’s a recipe for a roast chicken,’ in your mind, you know what it looks like,” said Beale. “But salads are one of those dishes where it’s helpful to have an image. That image really helps people dive into the dish.” So there’s an image for every recipe in the 216-page book, captured at the clip of four to six per day over the course of four months by photographer Mike Verbois. “When I looked at the whole shot list, the size of the book hit me,” recalled Beale. “I thought, ‘My god, this is an enormous book!’”
Unlike her previous cookbooks built around the seasons, Salade’s 14 chapters focus on major ingredients, from tomatoes to grains and rices to plums, peaches, and nectarines. “There’s a lot more to salad than mixed greens in a bowl,” asserted Beale. “What I’ve done is not complicated — you make something that honors the ingredients, then it will taste good.” And indeed, how could one not want, particularly right now when all the key ingredients are at their seasonal peaks, a cherry, pea, and fava bean salad?
Plum and Watercress Salad
From Salade by Pascale Beale
I have a prolific plum tree in my garden. This year we had another bumper crop, and after two huge batches of jam, I still had plums all over the kitchen. We used them in everything — with roasted chicken, clafoutis, plum cake, and salads. This was one of the favorites from the summer.
Serves 8 people
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 bunch basil, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
16 plums, pitted and thinly sliced
8 oz. Watercress
2 oz. mixed nuts (pistachios, macadamias, walnuts, almonds), chopped, then dry roasted in a pan for 2 minutes
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1) Place the olive oil, cilantro, basil, lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, a pinch of salt, and 3-4 twists of pepper in a blender. Puree until smooth.
2) Pour the herb vinaigrette into the bottom of a large salad bowl, and then place serving utensils on top of the vinaigrette.
3) Place the watercress and plum slices on top of the serving utensils.
4) When you are ready to serve the salad, toss to combine well. Divide the salad equally between the plates and then sprinkle the chopped nuts and the feta over the top of each salad.
Order Pascale Beale’s Salades from pascaleskitchen.com, or see her in person at Tecolote Book Shop on May 31, 3-5 p.m.; the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend at Bacara on June 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; the Santa Barbara Farmers Market on June 14, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; or the Book Den on June 14, 2:30-3:30 p.m.