The Modern Salad: Innovative New American and International Recipes Inspired by Burma’s Iconic Tea Leaf Salad, written by Elizabeth Howes, is a feast for your eyes as well as your palette. Every one of the 34 unique salad recipes is adorned with a stunning photo.
Howes writes, “This book is not about superfoods, despite the fact that I have incorporated many. It’s not necessarily about achieving perfect health, or even about eating in the cleanest way possible. These elements are both included and important, however. The core of this book is about reinvention and the transformative power of exhilarating whole food.”
The recipes in this book are grouped in the following categories:
Noodles, Grains, and Legumes
Fish and Shellfish
Chicken, Turkey, and Duck
Pork and Beef
With nary a reference to iceberg lettuce or ranch dressing in the pages, The Modern Salad boasts unique dishes sure to please salad fans around your table. Here are a few sample recipe titles to illustrate: Seared Tuna and Dragon Fruit Salad with Basil Oil and Lemon Salt; French Lentil and Poached Egg Salad with Shishito Pepper Vinaigrette; Garam Masala Turkey Salad with Tamarind-Cranberry Agrodoice; Star Anise Pork, Spicy Kimchi, and Soba Noodle Salad with Caraway Oil.
The Cauliflower Salad with Tuscan Kale Pesto on page 32 is outstanding. Using kale and nutritional yeast in the pesto creates a vegan option that excels in nutrients. Side by side with normal pesto, I’m sure you could tell a difference, but, on its own as the dressing to this filling salad, you don’t miss the cheese. To lengthen the life of this salad, I mixed only what I needed for dinner with an ample amount of the pesto dressing. The remaining veggies were bagged in the fridge awaiting their next dressing and appearance. It’s been a month since trying this recipe, and the first thing I thought of when given a case of kale was, “I could make the Tuscan Kale Pesto and freeze it in small bags for later!”
The one shortcoming to this cookbook is the absence of an ingredients index. I happened to have some baby bok choi, and I was sure I could use it in trying one of the recipes. The index at the end of the book is just the recipe index, so unless you know the name of a recipe that calls for bok choi, you’re out of luck. Sometimes you can get a clue from the name, but the Japanese Shichimi Togarashi on page 46 doesn’t give me any hint.
Any adventuresome eater with a penchant for unique salads will find much inspiration within the pages of The Modern Salad. Perhaps by perusing the pages often, an index won’t be necessary to use creative ingredients to produce memorable meals. — by Lisa George, Latigo Ranch, Kremmling, Colorado; Photography by Hannah George