• Tommy Centola

Light Entrees work for Summer Days

The temperatures outside are constantly around the 100℉ mark. Many people don’t want to turn on the ovens and stoves. While it is easy to eat out or pick something already cooked, there are many ways you can have a nice dinner without the use of a stove.


Today, I am going to share with you two salads, Italian Crab Salad and Tomato and White Bean Salad, along with a refreshing dessert, Lemon Mousse. Both of the salads make perfect light entrées. This dessert would be a great addition to any restaurant menu.


This recipe comes from my favorite New Orleans Italian restaurant, Mosca’s. This is their answer to Shrimp Remoulade. This dinner salad is a welcome addition to any meal. It just seems a little tastier when the temperature starts to climb.


Italian Crab Salad

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1 large head Iceberg Lettuce, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup Giardeniera (Italian Pickled Vegetable Salad), drained

1 1/2 to 2 cups Lump Crabmeat, picked thru for shells

1/2 cup Onion, chopped

1 cup Olive Oil

1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 cloves Garlic, minced


Break lettuce into bite-sized pieces and combine with Giardeniera, crabmeat and onions. Thoroughly mix oil, vinegar, salt and garlic. Pour over lettuce, Giardeniera and crabmeat. Gently toss and serve.


Locally grown tomatoes are hitting the farmer’s markets and your local grocery stores. Now is a great time to feature these local treasures in your recipes. This recipe is a great non-cooking salad that also makes a great entrée during these warm summer months. For an entry serving, use larger tomatoes.


Tomato and White Bean Salad


1 can (19 ounces) Navy Beans

1/2 cup Ham, minced

1/2 cup Onions, minced

1/2 cup Celery, minced

1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, minced

1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, chopped

1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

Creole Seasoning to taste

Hot Sauce to taste

6 small Tomatoes


Drain and rinse beans well. In a large mixing bowl, blend together beans, ham, onions, celery, bell pepper, parsley, garlic and thyme. Mix in olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste with Creole seasoning and hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate a minimum of 6 hours.

Approximately 2 hours before serving, remove bean mixture from refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, cut top off each tomato. Using a teaspoon, scoop out pulp, removing as many seeds as possible. Mince pulp and stir thoroughly into bean mixture. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Lightly season inside of tomatoes with Creole seasoning. Carefully spoon salad mixture evenly into tomatoes.

Lemon is the perfect flavor when I think of a cool dessert. It is not only tasty but it is also refreshing. This is a perfect make ahead dessert for these hot summer months.


Lemon Mousse


1 cup heavy Whipping Cream

4 ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon Vanilla

Zest and Juice from one Lemon

1/4 cup Sugar


Using a mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer, cream together cream cheese, vanilla, sugar. Lemon zest and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth. Gently fold in the whipping cream and stir until combined. Transfer to serving dishes and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. If you wish, add some fresh berries and/or a mint leaf as a garnish.


Remember, you can still prepare delicious dishes without the use of a stove or oven. I hope you enjoy these dishes and try to stay cool.

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