Thursday, September 16, 2010

Super Sides

You can't have a main dish without a side dish or two. Everyone does the old mashed or baked potatoes or rice and some kind of blah veggie. I have tried to make things more interesting mainly because I am worried that my kids are going to start getting picky. As it turns out, they are more picky about their meat dishes than the are about veggies and other sides. So, here are a few of our favorite side dishes.

This first one is great for grill season but you could make it just as easily indoors but skipping the grilling and just boiling the potatoes.

French Style Grilled Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (red and yellow), scrubbed
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
8 cornichon, finely diced
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chervil, for garnish

Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool and slice in half.

Heat the grill to medium.

In a large bowl toss the potatoes with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on the grill, cut-side down and grill until lightly golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 4 minutes longer.

While the potatoes are grilling, whisk together the vinegar, mustards, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl, add the red onion, cornichon and capers and stir to combine.

Remove the potatoes from the grill and immediately add to the bowl with the other ingredients and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped chervil.

My notes: I have found it's easier to cut the potatoes BEFORE you boil them rather than after. Cornichon can be found in the bulk food section of most Whole Foods and other specialty stores but I've used baby dills in their place and I have also left them out altogether. I also leave out the chervil.

This next side dish is one that I make to with chicken kabobs marinated in the barbecue sauce I blogged about here. It has become very popular in our house.

Couscous Salad with Chickpeas

1 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
Dash of sugar
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Place couscous, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in boiling water; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Combine oil, juice, garlic, and sugar.

Add oil mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, mint, and next 4 ingredients (through tomato). Sprinkle with cheese.

My notes: I usually add a tad bit more oil and lemon juice to keep it from drying out. I've also used finely chopped onion in place of green onions.

This next side dish is one I absolutely LOVE. I LOVE roasting veggies. They taste so much better that way. This can easily be done with broccoli too!

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.

My notes: I usually leave the garlic out and double up on the Parmesan. I also put it back in the oven with the cheese on it for about 5 more minutes.

Well, that wraps up my super sides. I hope you try some or all of these and like them as much as we do!

No comments: