The 2013 James Beard Awards were announced this month and I’m always eager to see which new cookbooks have won an award. (I’m also curious as to how many I’ve already bought!) There are numerous categories, such as Baking, General Cooking, International and Vegetable-Focused and Vegetarian.
In the “Focus on Health” category, this year’s winner was from Cooking Light: “The New Way to Cook Light–Fresh Food & Bold Flavors for Today’s Home Cook.” Following is a recipe from the cookbook that I’ve made several times. I especially like the sherry vinaigrette that dresses the veggies and have used it in green salads as well.
The ratio of vinegar to olive oil is tipped heavily in favor of the vinegar. This gives the dressing a slightly pungent quality that is brought into balance by the honey and Dijon mustard. It’s light and, all in all, very refreshing.
8 oz. asparagus
2 portobello mushroom caps
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slices
1 yellow squash, cut lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slices
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise
Sherry Vinaigrette* (see below)
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
6 Tbsp. (1 1/2 oz.) crumbled queso fresco** or feta cheese
Coat asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onion and bell pepper with nonstick spray. Grill vegetables about 4 minutes on each side or until slightly blackened. Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly.
Cut vegetables into 1″ pieces. Pour the sherry vinaigrette into a large serving bowl. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle with basil and cheese.
Serves 6 (each serving is about 3/4 cup salad and 1 Tbsp. cheese)
PP per serving: 2
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 t. honey
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
Combine ingredients in a jar and shake well.
**Queso fresco is a soft, creamy cheese used in Mexican cooking. If you cannot find it, use a cheese that suits your fancy, such as feta or even goat cheese. And remember, the cheese is not what makes this dish remarkable–it’s the vegetables that shine here, coated in a light, very flavorful sherry vinaigrette.