Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making it Match

It has become that bad. I now lay awake at night trying to figure out how to make two dishes using ingredients that have been languishing in the freezer or have gone a bit past their prime into a cohesive menu with flavors that don’t clash, but compliment each other. As if there isn’t enough in this crazy world to worry about.

You see, it all started with the turkey tenderloin I’ve had in the freezer since late December. Now that the warmer weather allows for cooler main courses, I planned to make a turkey salad with curry powder, grapes and cashews. The thing is, I also wanted to use up a cauliflower that I had bought more than a week ago. (It was starting to get a few brownish spots. Don’t worry, they didn’t kill me.) I had a great-looking recipe for roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and olives that I wanted to try. I just didn’t think these two recipes would “go” together as well as I wanted and was planning to make them for separate meals. I needed to use up those ingredients, though, and wanted to do it soon.

I tried to think of a way to curry up the cauliflower dish, but just adding curry powder to everything seemed so inelegant (yes, I worry about these things.) And so I was lying awake, agitated about these dishes as if the world would somehow be a better place if I figured this out. Well, duh, it finally occurred to me that I could change the turkey salad just as easily as the cauliflower dish and the day was saved.

The roasted cauliflower dish (I hope to post that recipe soon) has chickpeas and lots of garlic and green olives. This made me think of Spanish flavors which translated into sherry vinegar, red bell peppers and smoked paprika for the turkey salad, since those were ingredients I had on hand. For crunch, I wanted to replace the cashews in the original recipe with almonds, but all I had were smokehouse almonds. These turned out to be a great match with the smoked paprika.

This all might not take you directly to Spain, especially as a turkey salad served in pita bread, but it tastes good, and that’s the whole point anyway. Oh yeah, and it matched well with the cauliflower dish.
Turkey Salad with Sherry Vinegar and Smoked Paprika
Based on a recipe in Cooking Light magazine.

I roasted a turkey breast tenderloin with salt, pepper and olive oil at 350 F for about 40 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 165 F. I then covered it with foil for about 10 minutes (to finish cooking), removed the foil, let the turkey cool and shredded it.

There’s absolutely no reason that I can see why you couldn’t use chicken instead of turkey to make this salad.

¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked turkey breast, shredded or chopped
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
½ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped smoked (or “smokehouse”) almonds
2 tablespoons minced parsley

1. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, sherry vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve on a bed of lettuce or on bread or in a pita as a sandwich.

Makes about 4 servings.

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