Sensi, at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, also likes visiting local farms to “see what is growing in this desert. I'm always amazed!” Back at his restaurant, Ellamar tries to use as much of that local produce as possible. (Click here to see featured recipe.) We asked Ellamar, the featured chef in our August eNewsletter, to share a recipe showcasing summer vegetables. And the chef - who grew up in Hilo Hawaii - served up this tuna conserva salad, in which fresh tuna is poached gently in extra virgin olive oil. It’s paired with a salad made of greens and vegetables - one that also includes potatoes and olives.Call it Ellamar’s riff on tuna Niçoise salad.For Ellamar, the poached tuna serves two purposes. The leftover oil is used initially to make a saffron-infused aioli. The aioli becomes a dressing. The tuna conserva is flaked and included with the salad. Additional tuna is poached gently in olive oil until rare, sliced, and also included in the salad. Our Arbequina or Everyday Fresh oils would be fine for this dish.The salad includes a mix of veggies: haricots verts green beans, fingerling potatoes, red onion, piquillo peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Added to that are olives, radicchio, baby arugula, frisée, and chives. (Click here to see featured recipe.)The salad is tossed with the saffron-infused aioli and a splash of champagne vinegar. The flaked tuna conserva and the sliced rare tuna are added to the salad.Sounds like just the dish to sit down to after working on that 1964 Buick Wildcat.Bon appétit,Your friends at California Olive Ranch
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In many of my salads, I pack as much flavor and texture as possible into the dressing, using it to bridge other ingredients or add layers of complexity to the dish. Not so with this salad! Here, I only need the simplest of vinaigrettes—vinegar, oil, and salt—to tie everything together. Why? Because I’m using two ingredients that are loaded with flavor: super-sweet, apricot-colored Sungold tomatoes and strawberries, which become even more intense with a turn on the grill. As with any strawberry-based dish, try to skip the supermarket and seek out locally grown strawberries in the late spring and early summer. There are hundreds of varieties grown in the U.S.; Tristar and Earliglow are two of my favorites, but I generally buy the smallest berries on offer, which will have the most intense flavor. The Takeaway Strawberries can really take the heat of a grill, but it’s vital to season them right before you throw them on, or they’ll become too wet to get a good sear. It can be tricky to grill smaller strawberries, so use a wire grill basket, which also prevents you from having to move the strawberries around with tongs, which can easily damage them.
vegetables & sides