Cookbooks call out to me. They always have. Even when I was a little girl, I remember reading through my mom's collection of them and enjoying them almost as much as I did my Nancy Drews! Today I find most of my cookbooks at the library, bookstore, used book table at our local school fairs and on the internet. And it's not often that I actually get to meet the author or get to the store or restaurant that's the impetus behind the writing. But today is different and that's part of what makes this Famous Fridays post such an extra special one, because guys, I have actually experienced the magic of Lemonade firsthand!! And now you can too!
If you live in California or have been there recently you've probably at least heard of Lemonade, if not actually been to one of their 28 restaurants. Basically, Lemonade is like Chipotle in that it's served cafeteria-style in fast, but not traditional fast-food style where you build your own bowls and plates but instead of Mexican, the focus at Lemonade is on seasonal California cooking. There are lots of gorgeous organic salads featuring local produce, amazing sandwiches and soups, some hot entrees (they make a great vegetarian chili) and of course plenty of fresh lemonade in really interesting flavors, like watermelon rosemary, cucumber mint and old fashioned too. When we went out to California to visit my son and his fiancé last year, they took us to Lemonade for lunch and I'm still dreaming about it. It's exactly the way I like to eat--little samples of light salads and sides from just about every culture imaginable. And if you go with a bunch of people you can make them get different things from you so that you get to taste just about everything! So much fun! I'm really hoping they open one on the east coast asap! But at least now with The Lemonade Cookbook, all of us Lemonade-deprived folks out there can make their wonderful dishes at home. I've already made a bunch of stuff from the book, but I think my favorite is this really unique pistachio and sweet potato salad. I could eat this every day!!
Let's start with the fact that cubes of sweet potato with the skin left on get roasted in olive oil until they are crispy and caramelized on the outside with a meltingly tender sweet interior.
Then there are the roasted pistachios, which not only get crushed up and tossed into the salad to add crunch and flavor, but get steeped and blended with the oil of the vinaigrette so that there are layers and layers of pistachio goodness every time you take a bite! Heaven!
The parsley adds just the right color and earthiness and no one flavor overpowers the other. I predict you will engage in fork wars to determine who gets the last bite!!
It's so simple...so good...so California! And that's just one of many dishes so pick up a copy of Lemonade--I didn't even mention what a beautiful book it is--full of glossy, irresistible color photos. I promise you won't be disappointed. It's just the kind of cooking you'll want to do as the weather gets warmer, that is, if it ever does! Have a great weekend, definitely try this salad if you've got the time and I'll be back next week with more chatter and chow!!
Lemonade's Sweet Potato and Parsley Salad with Pistachio Vinaigrette-Famous Fridays
Makes 5-6 servings
You will need a blender or food processor to make the vinaigrette.
Prep Time for potatoes: 45 minutes: Prep Time for Vinaigrette: 5 minutes, plus time to roast pistachios
For the potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, washed well. Cut into 1-inch chunks leaving unpeeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper for seasoning
For the salad
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, toasted
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
For the vinaigrette
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios, toasted
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400º F. Place sweet potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat. Spread them out into a single layer and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35-40 minutes, turning every so often, until potatoes are tender and browned and sort of caramelized. Remove and transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.
2. Turn oven down to 350º F. Place all of the pistachios you need (that’s ¼ cup plus ⅓ cup and it's ok if it's not exact) on a baking sheet and roast for 5-10 minutes, until they are light brown and fragrant. Remove ⅓ cup and set aside.
3. Place the remaining warm nuts in a blender along with the ⅔ cup canola oil and blend at high speed for 1 minute or until nuts are completely broken down. Pour into a jar or container. As the mixture sits, the ground nuts will settle to the bottom.
4. To make vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, place the vinegar, honey, lemon juice, orange juice, shallots, salt and pepper and whisk together gently. Then pour in the pistachio oil mixture making sure you get all of the ground nuts that have settled onto the bottom of the container and whisk gently again. You can now use this immediately or pour into a mason jar or other container with a lid and give it a little shake before you are ready to use it. It'll last about a week in the fridge.
5. To make the salad, place the remaining pistachios in a resealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush them a bit. Then add them, along with the vinaigrette and the parsley to the roasted sweet potatoes. Toss well to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve right away or cover and chill.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and JoAnn Cianciulli. I pretty much followed this recipe except that I doubled the amount of sweet potatoes. The first time I made it there was too much vinaigrette for the 1 pound of potatoes and besides the salad is so good that you are going to want more!