MAKING A meal of crisp greenery and vegetables may be virtuous, but it isn't necessarily a wholly satisfying dining experience. A friend once remarked, over a shared bowl of the above, that one never gets full eating lettuce, one just tires of the effort.
When hot weather suggests something cold to eat and hunger pangs recommend something more than summer produce, you don't have to reach out the molded mousse in the back of the pantry. Consider a chilled meat salad. Serve it cool but not cold, to allow the flavor to speak for itself. CANARD FROID A L'ORANGE (4 servings) 4- 5-pound duck 5 oranges Salt Pepper 1/2 cup port 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup wild rice 3 scallions 2 cups chicory 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (available at Italian groceries, or substitute slightly less wine vinegar)
Prepare the duck by rubbing the juice of 1 orange, quartered, into the skin.
Salt and pepper the cavity and the skin, then place the leftover orange peel in the cavity. Cook for 12 minutes per pound in a 350-degree oven. Reserve the pan juices. Set the duck on a platter and cool just enough to be handled easily. Remove the skin carefully and scrape the excess fat from the skin and meat. Cut the skin and meat into spoon-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the port, water and juice from one orange to the pan drippings and cook over high heat until the drippings dissolve and the liquid is the consistency of gravy. Strain over the duck and toss the mixture. Cover and marinate at room temperature for about 1 hour.
While the meat is marinating, cook the wild rice. Peel, section and remove the seeds from 2 oranges. Slice the scallions thinly. Add these ingredients to the duck when it is well marinated. Add the juice from the last orange. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Immediately before serving, shred the chicory into the duck salad and toss with the vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. COLD CHICKEN IN CASHEW DRESSING (4 servings) 1 whole stewing chicken 1 medium onion 1 celery stalk Bay leaf Salt Pepper 1/4 pound asparagus 1/4 pound snow peas 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves 2 teaspoons vinegar 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 limes Generous pinch dried red pepper 4 to 5 ounces salted cashew nuts Head boston lettuce 4 mint sprigs 4 radishes
Place the chicken in a pot with enough water to cover. Slice the onion and celery and add to the water along with the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stew for about 45 minutes.
While the chicken is stewing, clean the asparagus and cut into one-inch pieces. Blanch in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Clean and blanch the whole snow peas. The vegetables should remain crisp and bright green. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the oil with the garlic, vinegar, ginger, pulp and juice of both limes, red pepper and 1/2 to 2/3 of the cashew nuts. Blend until the dressing is smooth and the consistency of a thick sauce.
Put the cooked, warm chicken on a plate and remove the skin. Discard. Shred the meat into thin strips along the grain and set in a bowl. Add the vegetables and dressing and mix until well coated. Cover and refrigerate until cooled throughout. Before serving, add the remaining cashew nuts and arrange on the boston lettuce. Garnish with a mint sprig and radish. PROSCIUTTO CON POMIDORI (4 servings) 3 large beefsteak tomatoes 1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto 3 large basil leaves 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (available in Italian groceries, or substitute slightly less wine vinegar) Salt and pepper 1 head bibb lettuce 12 pitted black olives
Slice the tomatoes into thin rounds. Roll the prosciutto lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch strips, widthwise.In a glass bowl, set a layer of tomatoes in the bottom and dot with a proportionate layer of prosciutto. Roll 1 basil leaf lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch strips with scissors; distribute the basil evenly over the ham and tomatoes. Sprinkle the layer with 1/3 the olive oil and vinegar and season lightly with salt and pepper. Layer the remaining ingredients in the same fashion. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Arrange on a bed of lettuce and garnish with the olives. SMOKED SALAMI IN MUSTARD-DILL DRESSING (4 servings) 2 medium-sized potatoes 12-ounce Danish smoked salami 2 cucumbers 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 1/4 tablespoons sour cream 1 teaspoon dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons dill 2 teaspoons vinegar Freshly ground black pepper 1 green pepper 4 cherry tomatoes
Simmer the potatoes in their skins in a pot of water for about 30 minutes or until they are cooked through. While the potatoes are cooking, shred the salami in a food processor or with a hand grater. Shred the washed, unpeeled cucumbers the same way. Mix the salami and cucumbers together in a bowl. Set aside.
Make a dressing by blending the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, worcestershire sauce, sugar, dill and vinegar until smooth. Cover and set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Peel the cooked potatoes and slice into 3 equal parts, lengthwise. Slice the potato strips in a food processor or with the slicing side of a hand grater. Drain any liquid from the salami-cucumber mixture and add the potatoes. Fold the dressing into the other ingredients and grind a generous amount of black pepper into the salad. Blend well and chill for about 2 hours. Arrange on individual plates and garnish each with a green pepper round and a cherry tomatoe. MINTED LAMB AND LENTIL SALAD (4 servings) 1/2 cup dried lentils 1 pound lamb (loin chops) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion 2 bay leaves 1/2 cup red wine 1/2 cup water 4 cardamom pods 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon tumeric 3 tablespoons vinegar 1 tablespoon fresh mint 3 carrots 2 celery stalks 1/4 cup fresh parsley Juice of 1 lime Salt Lemon rounds and parsley sprigs, for garnish
Soak the lentils for several hours in water until thoroughly moistened. Slice the lamb into thin strips about l 1/2 inches long. Add the olive oil to a frying pan and brown the lamb. Remove the lamb from the pan, reserving the liquid. Chop the onion into small pieces and saute in the pan juices until transparent. Add the lentils, bay leaves, red wine, water, cardamom pods, tomato paste and turmeric to the onions and cook over low to medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking.
While the lentils cook, marinate the lamb in the vinegar and chopped mint. Chop the carrots and celery finely and mince the parsley. Set aside. Combine the lentils with the marinated lamb and chopped vegetables, discarding the 2 bay leaves. Add the juice from the lime and salt to taste. Garnish individual plates with a lemon round and parsley sprigs.