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DRIED TOMATOES ADD ZING TO SOUPS, STEWS, VINAIGRETTE

SHARE DRIED TOMATOES ADD ZING TO SOUPS, STEWS, VINAIGRETTE

Dried tomatoes add intense, zesty flavor to everything from soups and stews to salads, and they are decidedly the star in this incredibly delicious vinaigrette. It is superb used as a dressing on fresh garden greens and vegetables and as a marinade for fish, poultry or meat. It is also a wonderful sauce on grilled vegetables, pasta, rice or beans.

The ingredients can all be stored in a pantry, which means you can enjoy using this recipe year round. When making the vinaigrette, it is easier to quarter the dried tomatoes with scissors than to cut them with a knife. All of the vegetables in this salad are at their peak at this time of year, making it truly fabulous summer salad. A great variation on this salad is to omit the potatoes and put all of the other ingredients on a piece of crusty French bread for a "Sandwich Nicoise"!

Dear Jeanne: This is one of our favorite summer meals. Even my 10- and 12-year-olds love this salad. Could you please help lighten it up? Thank you.

- Jane Zimmer, Bothell, Wash.

Dear Jane: This is a great salad for a crowd, and the addition of chicken would make a delicious variation. I shared it with neighbors and they loved it. A few changes easily brought the calories and fat in line, and I added some water to compensate for the moisture lost when I reduced the amount of oil in the dressing. The result is a huge reduction in fat and calories!

- Each serving contains approximately:

Original Recipe: 647 calories; 31 mg cholesterol; 50 gm fat; 579 mg sodium; 7 gm protein; 49 gm carbohydrates.

Revised Recipe: 292 calories; no cholesterol; 12 gm fat; 523 mg sodium; 6 gm protein; 43 gm carbohydrates.

Beans and legumes play an important part in a light diet, and my booklet, "Beans and Legumes for Every Occasion," contains some delicious low-calorie, low-fat recipes for them. Order it for $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No.10 envelope from Beans, PO Box 5541, Riverton, NJ 08077-5541.

Jeanne Jones is a consultant on menu planning, recipes and new-product development for major hotels and spas. She is also the author of 28 cookbooks, most recently "Cook It Light One-Dish Meals" (Macmillan).

Send your recipe for revision to:

Cook It Light

(Deseret News)

P.O. Box 1212

La Jolla, CA 92038

Please include a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed envelope.

*****

Recipes

SALAD NICOISE WITH DRIED TOMATO VINAIGRETTE

Dried Tomato Vinaigrette:

1 cup dried tomatoes (2-ounces), cut into quarters

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped, OR 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped capers, drained

Salad:

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, sliced

4 cherry tomatoes, quartered

8 small new potatoes, unpeeled, cooked and sliced

1/2 pound thin green beans, steamed crisp-tender

4 hard-boiled egg whites, quartered

1 can (12-ounces) water-packed white albacore tuna, drained and flaked

4 large fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)

To make vinaigrette, put the dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper and rosemary and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Slowly stir in the oil and then add the capers.

Drain the tomatoes, reserving 1/4 cup of the soaking water. Add the drained tomatoes and the 1/4 cup of reserved water to the vinegar mixture and mix well.

To serve, arrange all of the salad ingredients, except the tuna and rosemary sprigs, equally on 4 plates. Top each serving with one-fourth of the tuna. Spoon the vinaigrette evenly over the top and garnish each salad with a sprig of fresh rosemary, if desired.

- Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains approximately 386 calories; 15 mg cholesterol; 12 gm fat; 940 mg sodium; 34 gm protein; 31 gm carbohydrates.

CHINESE CABBAGE SALAD

1 head Napa cabbage, chopped

6 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup butter

2 packages Top Ramen noodles

1 small package slivered almonds (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup raw sesame seeds

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Combine cabbage and green onions in a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Crush noodles (do not use seasoning packets), and add to skillet along with almonds and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until nuts and seeds are tan in color. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine oil, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Blend well and keep at room temperature. About 1/2 hour before serving, mix all salad and dressing ingredients together in the large bowl and chill until serving. Makes about 14 cups; eight 13/4-cup servings.

HUGELY REDUCED CHINESE CABBAGE SALAD

1 head Napa cabbage, chopped

6 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon corn-oil margarine

2 packages low-fat ramen noodles, crushed (discard seasoning packets, or save for another use)

1/4 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup canola oil

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

Combine cabbage and green onions in large bowl and set aside. In a large non-stick skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Add noodles, almonds and sesame seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until nuts and seeds are tan in color. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine oil, sugar, vinegar, water and soy sauce. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. About 1/2 hour before serving, combine all ingredients in the large bowl and chill until serving. Makes about 14 cups; eight 1 3/4-cup servings.