Chef’s Pick: Summer Salads

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

There is nothing better than munching on crisp, fresh fruits and veggies during the summer. For Donatella Arpaia, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian, fresh picks are even better when they are paired with salads. Perfect for an appetizer or light lunch with a tall glass of lemonade, salads that pack a punch include way more than just leafy greens and a vinaigrette dressing. Whether it is a creamy beet and goat cheese salad with pistachio nuts for a crunch or a cool cucumber and shrimp salad, salads are a summer staple at any gathering. Check out these tasty picks from your favorite chefs.

Donatella Arpaia’s Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

1 package baby arugula
1½ lb red beets, scrubbed
½ c ricotta salata or goat cheese (crumbled)
½ cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake beets until tender. Allow to cool.

2. Peel and cut beets into into half size pieces

3. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, honey, vinegar and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil.

4. Place arugula in a salad bowl and add beets. Toss with some dressing and add cheese and nuts.


Shrimp and Cucumber Salad

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Shrimp and Cucumber Salad

2 hothouse cucumbers,
1 peeled, 1 unpeeled
Kosher salt
6 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 (2-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled
2 lbs (12 to 15 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, halved
1 medium avocado, preferably Hass, halved and pitted
Pink of flaky sea salt
4 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped, stems and all

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Marinate cucumbers. Cut into ¼-inch thick rounds. Arrange cucumber slices on a single layer and season both sides with kosher salt and olive oil. Transfer to bowl and toss with four tablespoons of vinegar and ginger and refrigerate.

3. Toss shrimp in a bowl and put baking rack over baking sheets. Oil track to prevent sticking and arrange shrimp in a single layer. Roast for 8-10 minutes.

4. Remove shrimp from oven, squeeze lime juice over them and immediately add to bowl with cucumbers. Scoop out avocado into bits and season with salt and remaining 2 tablespoons rice vinegar.

5. Put cilantro in bottom of eight bowls and top with shrimp and avocado. Stir and serve immediately.



Pea Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pea Salad with Tarragon and Pea Shoots

Serves 6-8

1 tbsp plus two tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
½ tsp capers, roughly chopped
plus 1 tsp of their brine
Kosher salt and white pepper
⅓ c extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves chopped


¾ lb sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
¾ lb snow peas, ends trimmed
1 cup shelled peas
White pepper
¼ cup pea shoot

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together mustard, lemon juice and vinegar. Add capers and brine, a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and add tarragon. Taste for seasoning.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare and ice bath. Set a colander inside the bath. Add salt to boiling water until it tastes like seawater. Add a pinch of sugar and snap peas and cook until bright green and crisp tender. About 2 minutes. Strain peas and transfer to colander inside the ice bath.

3. Bring water to boil and add snow peas and shelled peas. Cook until they float to the surface. Use strainer to remove the peas and plunge into ice bath with sugar snaps.

4. Spread peas out on a kitchen towel. Transfer to bowl and season with salt, pepper and sprinkle of sugar. Stir to blend and toss with dressing and pea shoots.


Geoffrey Zakarian’s Chicken Cobb Salad from The Lambs Club

Yields 2 servings

1 chicken breast, sliced
2 Romaine hearts, cleaned and halved
3 Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
2 oz Cobb salad dressing recipe
1 avocado, sliced
1 sprig tarragon
1 sprig dill
½ oz croutons
3 slices bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
Salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper.

1. Lightly dress romaine hearts with half of Cobb salad dressing , salt and fresh cracked black pepper in a mixing bowl. Place on bottom of plate.

2. Arrange eggs and tomatoes on top of lettuce. Top with avocado, crumbled blue cheese and bacon.

3. Garnish with croûtons, dill and tarragon

4. Drizzle remaining dressing on top of salad.

Cobb Salad Dressing Recipe

3 oz blue cheese, crumbled fine
¾ oz red wine vinegar
2.5 oz cold water
4 egg yolks
5 oz canola oil
¼ c chopped chives
Salt to taste

1. Combine the blue cheese, vinegar, water and egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Mix until everything is combined.

2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while continuing to whisk.

3. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

4. Add chives and mix until evenly distributed.


Arugula and Strawberry Salad

Alex Guarnaschelli’s Arugula and Strawberry Salad

Serves 4


3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp canola oil
¼ tsp kosher salt


1 generous pint of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
A sprinkle of poppy seeds
2 c arugula leaves

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sherry vinegar and honey. Whisk in the olive oil, canola oil and salt.

2. Toss the strawberries and poppy seeds in the dressing. Add the arugula and gently mix. Serve immediately.

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Jennifer Fauci
Jennifer Fauci is the former managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.

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