During the summer, grilled meats are often the stars of the show while the side dishes become an afterthought. Don’t let your warm weather menu become tired and bland with typical potato salad or simple mixed greens. Try these zesty, fresh and unique side dishes to heighten the flavor of your meals at home or in your restaurant. With hearty ingredients like corn and sweet potatoes, you can also offer these as filling vegetarian main courses, paired with artisan bread, grains or fruit.
Fresh Corn, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
From Schnucks Cooks
The vinaigrette dressing on this salad is easy and absolutely delicious. It would also work well as a marinade for chicken or to dress any pasta salad or green salad.
3 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 ball (8 oz.) fresh mozzarella cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced (1 tsp)
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 c. fresh spinach leaves
Heat a large covered sauce pot of water to boiling over high heat. Add corn and cook for 4 minutes; drain. When cool enough to handle, cut corn kernels from cobs.
Meanwhile, cut cheese into ½ inch pieces. Cut tomatoes in half.
In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, oil, vinegar, salt, mustard and cayenne. Add oregano, corn, cheese and tomatoes, and toss to combine.
If serving right away mix in spinach leaves. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead. Mix in spinach before serving.
Spicy, Smoked, Sweet Potato Salad
From Cooking Channel TV
Like the vinaigrette in the previous recipe, the rub from this dish is an excellent multi-purpose seasoning mixture and tastes great on fish or chicken
Sweet Potato Salad:
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick and into half-moons
2 tsp. olive oil
4 slices bacon
2 Tbs. smoking oak sawdust chips
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
2 tsp. adobo sauce from chipotle packed in adobo
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
For the rub:
Mix together the paprika, salt, sugar, pepper, chile powder and dry mustard in a small bowl.
For the potato salad:
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until almost done, about 10 minutes. Drain, place in a large bowl, drizzle with the oil and toss with 2 tablespoons of the rub.
Place the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Crumble the bacon and set aside.
Sprinkle the sawdust chips over the center of the bottom of a counter top smoker (or in a foil pan on a charcoal grill) and put the rack in place. Place the potatoes on the rack. Close the lid and turn the heat to medium. Smoke the potatoes until fully cooked, about 15 minutes (if using a charcoal grill, cooking times may vary).
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Mix together the mayonnaise, cilantro, mustard, adobo sauce, salt, black pepper and scallions in a large bowl. Add half of the bacon and the potatoes. Toss to combine, and then toss with the remaining bacon. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Asian Cabbage Slaw
From Martha Stewart
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. sugar
½ small head shredded Savoy or green cabbage
1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions, cut into matchsticks
1 grated carrot
½ fresh jalapeno, minced
In a large bowl, combine lime juice, rice vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar; season with salt and whisk.
Add cabbage, cilantro leaves, scallions, carrot and jalapeno. Toss to combine.