Monday, April 16, 2012

"The French Salad"

This is a very simple salad, but it's packed with protein and can easily be a main course or even a meal.  We call it "The French Salad" because my host mom in France made it every weekend; that's how I fell in love with it.  For her family (and me, and my husband) this salad is the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and tangy.  Give it a try... the ingredients sound weird but it's crave-worthy enough to be a staple in our home going on 12 years now.  Serves 2 in large portions, or 3 as a side-dish.

Classic Vinaigrette:

2 parts vegetable oil for every 1 part red wine vinegar.  Very small dolup of Dijon mustard (or whole grain mustard is good too).  Salt and pepper to taste.  I also add, for this salad, 1-2 tbsp of white sugar.  I also crank up the vinegar... I like it a little sweeter and tangier.

Salad Ingredients:

Endives (2 large or 4 small)
Apple, skinned and diced (honey crisp, pink lady, or fuji) - 1 large or 2 small
Egg (hard-boiled, chopped) - 1-2 eggs depending on your preference
Imitation Crab Meat (chopped) - from the refrigerated seafood section.

Simply prepare the vinaigrette and stir in each ingredient.  Sample and add additional salt, pepper, sugar, or vinegar if flavor is lacking.  Serve.

Why is this salad heart healthy?
  • Yes, it uses 1-2 eggs, to serve 2-3 people.  But the latest on eggs is that it's okay to have them on occasion and here's why:  They're low in saturated fat (1.5 g per egg) while being high in protein (6 g), and they have many other important nutrients.  Yes, they are high in "cholesterol" - but so few foods are high in "cholesterol" that when people have high cholesterol, it's never because of the actual cholesterol they consume.  It's because of the saturated fat.  That's also the current thought on shellfish.  Shrimp are now seen as a very viable option for heart-conscious eaters because they are fat-free and jam packed with protein.  Yes, they're high in cholesterol but so few other foods are that you can have a meal with shrimp as your protein and still be unlikely to blow through your daily cholesterol quota.  Meanwhile, you'll have an advantage on the "saturated fat" quota you probably do blow through because shrimp are fat free.  
  • It's a great way to get an apple in, and there are omega-3's in the imitation crab, which is largely made from pollock fish (see my earlier entry, "tips and tricks," for why this matters).  Endives offer many health benefits - fiber, vitamins A and C, folic acid, and beta-carotenes, to name a few.

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