Summer's Sweetest Salads 6

Local produce stars in our salad throw-down.

We did it again. Following in the fork prints of past throw-downs (remember the mac ‘n cheese challenge? the summer cocktail sip-off? the holiday sweets shoot out?), we asked a few choice restaurant chefs, home delivery chefs and event catering chefs to head to the nearest garden and toss up a fabulous fresh summer salad for this issue. We readied our forks at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental, in the Taipan Lounge overlooking the picturesque English Garden. Our talented photographer, Kathryn McCrary tiptoed between the early summer raindrops to shoot the salads in the English Garden, tucked away behind busy Peachtree Street in Buckhead. Get inspired and find the closest farmers market to enjoy the season’s freshest produce for one of these fabulous salads.

 

Georgia Kale Salad

Our Blue Ribbon Favorite
Chef Todd Annis
Bold American Events
Toss it: Kale and red cabbage chiffonade, carrots, housemade Georgia pralines, diced Georgia apples, blue cheese wedge (Sweet Grass Dairy), Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Pack salad in serving size molds and invert on plate, top with pralines.
What the judges said: The sweet pralines complemented the tartness of the salad and the vinaigrette cut the usual bitterness of the kale. The smooth blue cheese added a welcome complexity. I’m now a kale convert!
Get one:  Bold American Events works to make large corporate events or intimate social gatherings exceptional, memorable and bold with innovative, chef-inspired menus customized specifically for your event with award-winning décor and breathtaking floral design featuring layers of color, texture, sights and sounds. They have dazzling Atlanta event spaces, professional, skilled sales people, event planners and wait staff. 404.815.1178, BoldAmerican.com.
Giving back: Bold American Events supports the Atlanta Community Food Bank & The Giving Kitchen

 

Summer Veggie Salad with Slow Smoked Chicken

Chef Max Miller
Everbest Foods
Toss it:  arugula, smoked chicken breast, strawberries, roasted red beets, roasted golden beets, toasted sunflower seeds.  Citrus vinaigrette: lemon and lime juice, dijon mustard, local organic honey, EV olive oil, salt and pepper (produce courtesy of Love is Love Farm). Deviled quail eggs with black truffle oil.
What the judges said: The tiny deviled quail eggs were a jewel, the beets changed my mind about beet appreciation/loved them, sunflower seeds added another excellent layer of texture and taste.
Get one:  Everbest loves the Paleo way of life. Meals are prepared fresh, never frozen, and contain local and organic meats and vegetables when they are available. Each weekly menu is designed to have a healthy mix of meats and fish as well as a wide variety of side dishes that eliminates the monotony found in most “diets”. Each Tuesdaymorning, Everbest sends out a new weekly menu, delivered for you to a number of Crossfit gyms every week.  All meals are delivered to the gyms and placed in the refrigerator. 678.462.2441, EverbestFoods.com
Giving back: Georgia Food Bank Association

 

Herbaceous Italian Chopped Salad

Chef Sean O’Keefe
Sean O’Keefe Events
Toss it: Chopped cauliflower, broccoli, grape tomatoes; chick peas, home smoked provolone, salami; dressing of your favorite mustard, olive oil, vinegar, shallot and a touch of honey; fresh parsley, dill, garlic chives, mint and basil.What the judges said: The smoked cheese was amazing, with so many ingredients I didn’t expect everything to meld-but it was a flavorfully balanced dish, chick peas-yes!
Get one: Sean O’Keefe Events plans weddings, fund-raisers, very special events and will make you feel like a guest in your own home. Sean and his staff offer in-home private dining experiences, food and beverage menu development, and uniquely tailored culinary classes with more than 20 years of culinary experience, a broad range of culinary styles, menu options, and specialized ingredients. Remembering that we eat with our eyes first, their dedicated and highly skilled culinary team work to dazzle your palate visually and then wow your senses as you dine on global cuisines tailored to your exact tastes. They pride themselves on personalized service and delicious food that, simply put, will excite your guests and leave them wanting just one more bite! 404.228.7903 SeanOkeefeEvents.com
Giving back: Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance

 

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

Lifestyle Publications Kitchens
Toss it: Spotted Trotter bacon, Springer Mountain Farms chicken, romaine hearts from Lucy’s Market, avocado, mango, green onions, toasted macadamia nuts, creamy mango dressing
What the judges said: fresh and light, sweet dressing, lovely presentation, the avo and mango paired well for a smooth summery taste.
Get one: Our staff at Lifestyle Publications stays pretty busy putting together this magazine for you every month, but will be happy to share the recipe for this well-received summer salad. Check out our Facebook page this month for the shopping list and how-to. We love shopping locally for produce and support nearby home delivery grocers and farmers markets.
Giving back: Wellspring Living, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities

 

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Lifestyle Publications Kitchens
Toss it: fingerling potatoes, Terra Dolce Farms olive oil (Lyons, GA), lemon rind and juice, Dijon mustard, chopped arugula, kalamata olives, chopped parsley/basil/chives from Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
What the judges said: olives were a nice surprise, could use a bit more punch, a smart alternative to a heavy yellow potato salad, very inviting presentation, loved the honey, perfectly paired with the H&F pita
Get one: We had to whip up one more salad when one of our throw-down chefs had to bow out from the tasting at the last minute. (We wish her luck with her new baby!)  For this salad, we simply suggest you substitute out a vinaigrette for any mayonnaise in your favorite potato salad recipe. This will lighten the caloric punch and give you a new lease on your summer picnic array.  You’ll find the recipe on our Facebook page this month. Share yours, too!
Giving back: Intown Collaborative Ministries Food Pantry, Blue Heron Nature Preserve

 

Quinoa Salad

Chef Linden Sampson
Mandarin Oriental Atlanta
Toss it: quinoa, dried cranberries, apricot, arugula, dressing is white balsamic, garnish: magenta mixed greens with balsamic reduction.
What the judges said: creamier than expected, offered a real pop of flavor throughout the dish, must have been healthy but tasted extravagant, loved the corn.
Get one:  At Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, social occasions at one of the city’s most exclusive address are masterfully executed with southern refinement and oriental graciousness. From spectacular weddings to intimate private parties, the elegant function rooms and exquisite English Garden set a graceful tone and provide stunning backdrops to any celebration. An endless array of personalized services include bespoke menus, floral creations, live Internet feed to family and friends worldwide. The Café & Bar is a sophisticated meeting place for power breakfasts, chic lunches and elegant dinners. A cozy retreat for pre-or post-dinner drinks, The Bar serves stylish cocktails and vintage wines. Taipan, an inviting lounge, is where guests can relax and unwind with specialty cocktails and gourmet appetizers.404.995.7500, MandarinOriental.com/Atlanta
Giving back: Hands on Atlanta, Project Open Hand, Cooking Matters, AIDS Walk Atlanta, Trees Atlanta, Buckhead Christian Ministries, Books For Africa

 

The Breads

Black Sesame Crackers: black sesame seeds worked into the dough before it is rolled and baked to a crispy cracker. Paired with Smoked Chicken paleo salad.
Deli Rye baguette: classic rye filled with caraway seed, perfect way to enhance any salad!
Sour Cherry Pecan Pain au Levain Baguette: Mild sourdough studded with plump tart cherries and pecans. Paired with the Georgia Kale Salad.
Brioche Silver Dollar: petite ping-pong sized brioche rolls. Paired with Hawaiian Chicken Salad.
Pita: classic fluffy Mediterranean flat bread.
Semolina Sesame baguette: made from durum wheat flour and coated in sesame seed before baking to produce a nutty flavor
H&F Bread Co. was founded in 2008 by Chef Linton Hopkins to produce handmade, delicious artisanal bread, baked fresh and delivered daily, for his two restaurants, Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch Public House. This bread quickly caught the attention of Atlanta’s culinary community and demand grew the business into the fully functional wholesale bakery it is today, delivering fresh bread and pastry to hundreds accounts citywide. Shop the bakery at 1401 Ellsworth Ind Blvd, 404.350.8877. HFBreadCo.com

Meet the Judges

Pictured, from left, are Robert Lowe, general manager, Mandarin Oriental Atlanta; Chris Economy, The Eye Gallery; Princeton Review; Cheri Mason Lewis and Laura Ross, Marcus Jewish Community Center;  Caroline Mealor, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities; Michelle Dixie, H&F Bread Co; Shannon Courtney, ARMHC; SD Davis, Forunato Funds; Tomer Barash, MJCCA

Many thanks, too, to the gracious staff at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta.