Friday, June 20, 2014

Finding Balance

On Tuesday, I returned from a 48-hour business trip to New Jersey, and I feel rather sick.  I'm quite certain it was the food.  Every meal I ate there was very rich and , and it seemed there were no other options.  On the second night, determined to have something on the lighter side, I had it in my mind that I would order only a soup and vegetable side from the hotel steakhouse.  What I ate: creamy lobster bisque with deep fried ravioli, and a side of parmesan asparagus gratin.  Feeling heavy, I went back to my hotel room and slept for 2 hours.  Everything tastes better with butter, cream, and cheese?  I beg to differ.

Now that I'm home, I've been seeking a good counterbalance.  This light salad seems to do it for me.  It's a meal version one of my favourite simple summer salads (bocconcini, tomato and basil), and is the perfect accompaniment to picnics, barbeques, or otherwise hot days and nights.

Early Summer Bocconcini Salad 
Makes 2 small meal-sized or 4 side servings.

If you have the time, substitute the pasta for cubed bread sauteed lightly in oil, for a killer panzanella salad.

2 handfuls of fusilli pasta, uncooked
5 small bocconcini balls (100 g), sliced into medallions
1/4 cucumber, sliced and cut into quarters
1 small ear of corn, kernels removed
1 tomato, sliced into wedges and then halved
4 chives, snipped into small bits
2 bunches of basil, leaves removed and chiffonade
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or a lime, in a pinch)
1 good glug of good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a nice big pinch of salt, and add uncooked pasta.  One minute before the pasta is al dente, add the corn kernels.  Drain, and rinse well in cold water.

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together.  Serve immediately, or cover and chill in the fridge for an hour prior to serving.

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