The first module in any NUNCHI Retreats weekend is knife skills. Why? Because that is the foundation of everything and frankly it makes your life easier in the kitchen. With a good chef’s knife and a cutting board you can make truly make some magic happen. But how do you practice your knife skills at home without just chopping vegetables with no game plan?
Easy! Cold salads.
And not in the traditional lettuce, some veg, and protein way, not that there’s anything wrong with that but we’re trying to work on knife skills so we steer towards the ‘no greens’ type salads. So how does one build salads with the intent of practicing some knife skills? We aim for multiple ingredients, and different types of vegetables and herbs that will drill different skills. There are some classic ingredient and flavor combinations out there that we can play with. Think of Mediterranean or Asian flavors, they are fresh, bright and give you plenty of options to play with. Sort of a starting point and go for from there. And there are variations that do not involve cooking as well.
For the salads listed below, slice, dice, and chop the ingredients as indicated, mix up the vinaigrettes, add to the mix and voila. Let’s hop right in.
SLICING & DICING:
Mediterranean style tuna salad
We’re more concerned with technique here than exact measurements so feel free to adjust as needed, perhaps you love cucumbers and want to add a bit more, or more olives, have at it.
½ of a medium sized cucumber - small dice
½ pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered (can substitute grape tomatoes)
½ of a medium red onion small dice½ red pepper - small dice
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives - rough chop
2 tbsp chopped parsley (grab a good handful off of a bunch)
1 jar of tuna packed in water
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard1 tbsp shallots (brunoise)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chicken Kohlrabi Slaw
Everyone’s favorite exercise, OK, we get some complaints on this one but it is worth it to practice because one day you’ll want to change it up and look like a badass and your friends will wonder who you even are. For this salad, you can use pre-cooked chicken if you have it, if not be sure to set that on first before you get to the other prep work.
1 medium carrot peeled and julienned
½ medium kohlrabi peeled and julienned
1 tbsp thai basil - julieene
1 tbsp mint - chopped
1 Serrano or asian chile, thinly sliced
2 chicken breast, shredded (bring to a boil with either chicken stock or water, just enough to cover, along with sliced ginger, salt, pepper. Once at a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to go until cooked through approx 15 min depending on the size of the portions. Then shred)
Vinaigrette with a few Asian flavors
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp of lemon or lime juice
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
a couple of dashes of hot sauce
Try these out and let us know how it turns out.
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