Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield's recipe for Salad Sandwiches is simple and perfect for these scorching summer days when you don't want to turn on the oven or stove. Pack a these in a picnic basket and enjoy the sunshine!
Makes 4 sandwiches
Don’t tell me you’ve never had a salad sandwich! When I was a girl, my family practically lived on them come summer, when it was steamy outside and the last thing my mom wanted to do was hunch over a hot stove. The salad sandwich is just what it sounds like: bread piled with veg like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and onion. My mum would add spring onions from her garden and slather the bread with butter and Heinz Salad Cream. The ones I make today aren’t much different, though I typically make my own version of salad cream and might occasionally add boiled eggs with oozy yolks or use goat cheese butter. Sometimes I’ll even bake my own white bread. But really, the little details are up to you.
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water and cook them for 7 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then carefully peel them. Slice them however you’d like just before you add them to the sandwich.
Lay the tomato, cucumber and onion in more or less one layer on a large platter or cutting board. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the veg, then add a good drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Flip them over and rub them gently, just to make sure they’re all seasoned.
Spread each slice of bread with butter. Layer the tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce, salad cream, and eggs on 4 slices of bread: I like to start with the tomatoes, then lettuce, then a good old slather of salad cream, then the eggs, the cucumber, and finally the onion. Top with the remaining bread and give each sandwich a firm but gentle press with your palm. Eat straightaway.
Makes a generous cup
This creamy, tangy dressing is meant to mimic the jarred salad cream I grew up with in England, which I poured all over raw vegetables. I realize now that it’s a lot like a really liquidy version of the deviled egg filling I make at The Spotted Pig, with a little tarragon thrown in. If you’re making this for Salad Sandwiches, you might want to give some of the boiled egg whites a good old chop and pile them on the bread along with the soft-boiled eggs. No point in wasting.
Fill a medium pot at least halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently add the eggs to the water, cook them for 10 minutes (set a timer), then run them under cold water until they’re fully cool. Lightly tap each egg against the counter to crack the shell all over, then peel them, halve them lengthwise, and pop out the yolks. (Reserve the whites for another purpose, like Salad Sandwiches, or for nibbling.)
Use the back of a spoon to force the yolks through a mesh sieve into a food processor. Add the oil, cream, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and 2 teaspoons water and process until very smooth and creamy. Add the tarragon and process briefly. It keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
From A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. Copyright 2015 April Bloomfield. Excerpted by permission of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Read our review of this book.
No summer vacation plans? No worries, just go on a world tour of authors! Here are 15 books in translation that we're looking forward to in the upcoming months.
Be sure to check out our list of 15 of the best books in translation from the past year!
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Sweden), translated by Henning Koch
You may remember Backman from his international bestseller A Man Called Ove, the tale of a grumpy old man who learns some lessons late in life. His new novel follows a young girl as she delivers letters of apology written by her recently deceased best friend—her grandmother. June 2015
Innocence: Or, Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály (Czech Republic), translated by Alex Zucker
Best known for her memoir about her survival during the Holocaust (Under a Cruel Star), Kovály's thriller will finally be available in English this summer. Using Raymond Chandler as her literary lodestar, the Czech author, who died in 2010, weaves a plot of political corruption and oppression, murder and deadly secrets in 1950s Prague. June 2015
The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Italy), Translated by Ann Goldstein
This is the final novel in Ferrante's critically applauded Neapolitan series, which follows the diverging lives of two friends. Ferrante's novels, which capture the female voice with almost shocking honesty and intensity, are international bestsellers. However, adding intrigue to the series is the fact that Elena Ferrante is a pen name—the public has no clue who she (or he?) truly is. In a letter to her publisher, she writes, "Books, once they are written, have no need of their authors." (Via The New Yorker) Quite refreshing in this age of author Twitter feuds. Sept 2015
The Travels of Daniel Ascher by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat (France), translated by Adriana Hunter
Is H.R. Sanders the true author of the hit YA adventure series, The Black Insignia, or is it actually young Hélène’s mysterious and nomadic uncle, Daniel Roche? When the rumors of a 24th and final volume start swirling, Hélène and her friend Guillauame decide to track down the elusive Daniel Roche, but they may stumble upon some very big secrets in the process. May 2015
Confessions of the Lioness by Mia Couto (Mozambique), translated by David Brookshaw
Couto, who was shortlisted for the 2015 International Man Booker Prize, sets his latest novel in a mysterious, remote village in Mozambique, where lionesses have begun attacking the women of the village. But when the elders call in a huntsman in the hopes of ridding themselves of the predators, things begin to unravel. Witchcraft, encroaching modernity, male insecurity and the unjust treatment of women all come into play in this poetic mystery. July 2015
The latest from Vásquez is a collection of seven short stories set in Europe, where he lived for several years. The Colombian author is perhaps best known for his insightful, deeply felt prose and his award-winning novel The Sound of Things Falling. The stories in this collection are heartbreaking and tender, focusing on the faults of love and memory. July 2015
The Occupation Trilogy by Patrick Modiano (France), translated by Frank Wynne, Patricia Wolf & Caroline Hillier
When Patrick Modiano won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014, most Americans had one collective thought: Who? Modiano is famous in France, but most Americans are unfamiliar with his work. Luckily, American publishers have caught on. Look for this translation of the entire Occupation Trilogy in the fall of 2015.
Southeaster by Haroldo Conti (Argentina), translated by Jon Lindsay Miles
Gabriel García Márquez numbered as one of his many fans, but it is assumed that Conti's life was cut short when he was "disappeared" by the Argentine dictatorship in 1976. In this first book by Conti available in English, Southeaster follows a reed-cutter who allows himself to fall into a solitary life as a river drifter after his friend dies. November 2015
The Prophets of Eternal Fjord by Kim Leine (Norway), translated by Martin Aitken
Kim Leine’s sweeping historical saga moves from the quiet, bourgeoisie homes and churches of Copenhagen to the stark villages of Greenland’s Fjord in the 1780s, where a idealistic (yet naïve) young priest, Morten Falk, struggles through a series of exploits to decide where he belongs and who he wants to be. Leine weaves true historical events of colonial rule and Greenland’s native villagers struggle for independence into this rich page-turner. July 2015
French Concession by Xiao Bai (China), translated by Chenxin Jiang
The 1930s underworld of Shanghai comes to life in Bai's literary noir thriller, his English debut. When photographer Hsueh is unwillingly coerced into spying for the Shanghai authorities, he has no idea that the two women he is enamored with are spies themselves, both deeply involved with gangs, mobsters and various shadowy dealings. As the stakes rise, his desire to protect both women leads him deeper into the underworld. July 2015
Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens by László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), translated by Ottilie Mulzet
Krasznahorkai is known for his gritty novels, but his newest work is part travel memoir, part social history where he examines his time spent in China during the dawn of the new millennium. He focuses on the country's growing pains during its rise to becoming a global superpower and high-powered industrial country while also attempting to better understand its cultural traditions and political climate as a Westerner. January 2015
The Exchange of Princesses by Chantal Thomas (France), translated by John Cullen
Based on real events, this sweeping historical follows the intrigue surrounding the marriages of two very young princesses in the early 18th century. In an attempt to stabilize relations between kingdoms, a French princess and a Spanish princess are betrothed to heirs in the neighboring countries. There is a grand ceremony, hopes are pinned on them—and nothing goes as planned. July 2015
The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt), translated by Russell Harris
When Abd el-Aziz Gaafa loses his wealth and his land, he moves his family to Cairo for a chance at getting back on their feet. Once there, he takes a job serving at the Automobile Club—a luxurious refuge for strictly European clientele. But Abd el-Aziz can only stand the Club's corruption for so long, and after he is killed for standing up for himself and his fellow workers, his widow and two sons are drawn deeper and deeper into both the Club's shadowy politics and Egypt's social underworld until they are given a stark and gut-wrenching choice: live safely as lifelong servants or fight for their human rights. August 2015
Nobel Prize-winner Pamuk sets his latest novel in the enthralling, ancient city of Istanbul. The young Mevlut Karataş comes to the city of Istanbul from his provincial village with hopes of wealth and happiness, and although he settles into life in the glorious city, he feels that something is lacking. As he wanders the streets at night selling boza (a traditional Turkish drink), he comes to a greater understanding of himself and the city. Oct 2015
The Circle by Bernard Minier (France), translated by Alison Anderson
When a professor is found murdered in her home, the French university town she resided in is thrown into chaos. Shortly thereafter, Martin Servaz receives a message indicating that a serial killer may be back on the prowl. Are the events linked? Servaz and the detectives he recruits are motivated to act quickly, for Servaz's own daughter attends the university, and the secrets they uncover are deadly. Oct 2015
See anything you're also looking forward to, readers?
Mat Johnson found critical acclaim with his debut, Pym, and his anticipated second novel is a fresh, whip-smart and satirical take on one Philadelphia family's struggles. When middle aged Warren Duffy returns to his father's half-renovated mansion on the heels of a divorce from his Welsh wife, his career prospects seem dim and he can barely see ahead to the next day. But suddenly his life is upended even further when he discovers his teenage daughter, Tal, after the death of her white mother. Warren and Tal steadily build a relationship after she moves in, and Warren may even find himself falling in love with Sunita, a fellow comic nerd. Johnson's Loving Day deftly explores biracial identities, family, aging, healing from lost love and finding it anew.
In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father’s house. It sits on seven acres, surrounded by growling row houses, frozen in an architectural class war. Its expansive lawn is utterly useless, wild like it smokes its own grass and dreams of being a jungle. The street around it is even worse: littered with the disposables no one could bother to put in a can, the cars on their last American owner, the living dead roaming slow and steady to nowhere. And this damn house, which killed my father, is as big as it is old, decaying to gray pulp yet somehow still standing there with its phallic white pillars and the intention of eternity.
An eighteenth-century estate in the middle of the urban depression of Germantown. Before he died, my father bought the wreck at auction, planned on restoring it to its original state, just like he did for so many smaller houses in the neighborhood. Rescuing a slice of colonial history to sell it back to the city for a timeless American profit. His plan didn’t include being old, getting sick, or me having to come back to this country, to this city to pick up his pieces. This house is a job for a legion, not one person. It did—my father. I am one person now. My father’s house is on me. I see it from the back of the cab, up on its hill, rotting.
What are you reading?
Where to start? There are so many great reads coming out in paperback this week that it’s hard to know where to begin. So we’ll kick things off with the lone nonfiction title on our list:
In the Kingdom of Ice
By Hampton Sides
Anchor • $16.95 • ISBN 9780307946911
Coming in at #9 on the BookPage list of Best Books of 2014, Sides' riveting account of a doomed 19th-century expedition to the North Pole is both thrilling and horrific. Trapped in the ice for two years, the crew of the U.S.S. Jeannette found themselves in an even more precarious position when their ship finally broke apart. This masterful true-life tale would make a gripping (and chilling) summer read.
The Book of Life
By Deborah Harkness
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143127529
The USC historian concludes her magical All Souls trilogy with another dazzling time-travel adventure. If the thick, 500-page hardcover was too heavy for your beach bag, this paperback is the solution. Penguin is also releasing a new boxed set of all three books in the series (including A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night).
Etta and Otto and Russell and James
By Emma Hooper
Simon & Schuster • $15.99 • ISBN 9781476755687
Canadian writer Emma Hooper crafts a quietly powerful story about an octogenarian who sets off on foot from her home in Saskatchewan to see the ocean for the first time—a trek of more than 3,000 kilometers. Along the way, Etta travels through the past and present, as well as the loves and tragedies of her long life.
The Hundred-Year House
By Rebecca Makkai
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143127444
Though this story features a Marxist scholar, an unemployed academic, an annoying mother-in-law and a ghost, the real star of the show is Laurelfield, the Chicago estate where 100 years of family history unfolds. This smart and surprising novel was #14 on our Best Books of 2014 list. The paperback also includes a story from Makkai's forthcoming collection, Music for Wartime.
By René Steinke
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594633836
The bonds among neighbors in the small Texas town of Friendswood are strained to the breaking point by two controversies: a toxic waste dispute and a rape investigation. Steinke, a 2005 National Book Award finalist (for Holy Skirts), drew her inspiration for the story in part from her own hometown.
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
By Chris Bohjalian
Vintage • $15.95 • ISBN 9780307743930
Something entirely different from the talented Bohjalian in his 16th novel: a dystopian tale about the aftermath of a nuclear meltdown. The focus here is on Emily, a Vermont teenager who is left homeless and orphaned by the disaster. As she takes in 9-year-old Cameron and struggles to keep herself and the boy alive, Bohjalian portrays their plight with skill and sensitivity.
In his frequently hilarious memoir The World's Largest Man, Harrison Scott Key recalls his Mississippi childhood, his domineering father and how both shaped him into the man he is today. Our reviewer says, "Both laugh-out-loud funny and observant about the ways we become our parents while asserting ourselves, The World’s Largest Man is a wise delight." (Read the review.)
We asked Key to tell us about three books he's enjoyed reading lately.
It's hard to imagine Twain as a debut author, age 34, looking like a young game show host with a black coiffure and a bed skirt attached to his lip. Published in 1869, his first book may also be the first funny, creative nonfiction book ever written, a story about a cruise to Europe and the Holy Land, long before David Foster Wallace made us want to jump overboard with A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Twain writes such terrible things about Muslims that if he said them today I'm sure he'd be stoned by every tolerant progressive in North America, although they'd probably feel bad about it once they see how he treats the Church and her relics. Nevertheless, everything we love about Twain is here, especially that tenuous balance between cynicism and a genuine wonder at how beautiful the world can be anyway.
Many of these stories were first published in The New Yorker, including the longest one in the collection, a novella called "Sell Out", which is easily the funniest novella ever written by a human being in the land we know as America. In it, Rich tells a timeless tale about a Jewish immigrant who is preserved for a hundred years in a large vat of pickle juice and then reanimated. I know, I know, you've heard that story before. But Rich has a fresh take. For example, there's a character in the story named Simon Rich, and the pickled immigrant is his great-great-grandfather, and if you think that sounds too silly to be very funny, then maybe you should fall into a vat of something vinegary and see how it feels.
I remember a theologian making reference to this book as being very sad and depressing, a sort of portent of the meaninglessness of postmodernity, and I've already got enough sadness in my life, thank you very much, what with Facebook and bloating. But then I remembered that Heller was the guy who wrote Catch-22, and that book was sort of funny, so maybe the theologian was confused? Turns out, the theologian was right! It is sad and depressing! But it's a very funny kind of sadness, for example, when the narrator says this about his job: "It's a real problem to decide whether it's more boring to do something boring than to pass along everything boring that comes in to somebody else and then have nothing to do at all." I guess theologians are sometimes wrong.
Thank you, Harrison! See anything you'd like to pick up, readers?
(Author photo by Chia Chong)
Outdoor grilling season is in full-swing, and celebrated chef Rick Bayless has just the right multi-purpose seasoning for you. Try his modified recipe from More Mexican Everyday for a traditional salsa negra, a sweet and smoky paste that can be used on everything from grilled meats to sandwiches.
Sweet-Sour Dark Chipotle Seasoning • Salsa Negra
Don’t think of this Veracruz specialty as a typical salsa, in spite of its Spanish name; it’s more of a seasoning paste, with deep, dark richness and smoldering heat—just right for adding depth and complexity to the simplest of dishes. The traditional version of this salsa is so involved (oil-roast the chiles and garlic, soak in raw-sugar water, puree and cook slowly in an oily pan for an hour or more) that no one really makes it at home. Which is the reason I worked on a quick cheater version, but one that, to my taste, is pretty darn close to the original.
Makes about 2 cups
Place the two cans of chiles (and their canning liquid), molasses, vinegar, sugar and ½ cup water in a blender and process until completely smooth. Scrape into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Let the mixture come to a brisk simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low and continue simmering, stirring regularly, until the mixture is the consistency of tomato paste, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the soy sauce. If necessary, add some water, a splash at a time, until the salsa is the consistency of runny ketchup. Cool, taste and season with salt; it may not need any, depending on the saltiness of your soy sauce. (That said, keep in mind that salsa negra should be seasoned highly, both to preserve it for longer storage and to make it useful as a seasoning.) Transfer the salsa to a pint-size jar and store, covered, in the refrigerator, where it will last for a month or two.
The Simplest Uses for Sweet-Sour Dark Chipotle Seasoning
1. Spoon onto raw oysters or add to cocktail sauce for shrimp
2. Toss with nuts and a little oil and bake for a delicious nibble
3. Toss with shrimp or smear on chicken after sautéing or grilling
4. Use as a glaze for practically anything off the grill. It’s particularly good on tuna, mackerel and sardines, as well as eggplant.
5. Believe it or not, it’s good on peanut butter–banana sandwiches
6. Use instead of Worcestershire and hot sauce for a spicy bloody Mary
7. Stir into cream cheese with crumbled bacon for an amazing bagel spread
8. Stir into caramel sauce and use as a dip for apples
9. Add to the pot when braising shortribs
Copyright © 2015 by Rick Bayless. Excerped from More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless published by Norton. Read our review of this book.
Get ready for some fabulous summer reading! LibraryReads has put together a list of the 10 books coming out in June that librarians are most excited about putting on their shelves.
Our Fiction Top Pick from Annie Barrows, The Truth According to Us, makes the list, and our cover star Judy Blume's novel In the Unlikely Event is also highly anticipated. Erika Johansen continues the fantasy saga she began with The Queen of the Tearling with The Invasion of the Tearling in June.
You can see the full June LibraryReads list here. Which book are you most looking forward to picking up at your local library or bookstore?
Last night, Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai was announced as the winner of the Man Booker International Prize during a ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The award is given every two years to a fiction author whose body of work is deemed extraordinary on an international level.
With an experimental style influenced by Kafka, Krasznahorkai is Hungary's most acclaimed author. Chair of judges Marina Warner says, "László Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful."
Krasznahorkai has five novels available in English translation, and his memoir, Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens, will be available in January 2016.
Want more books in translation? Check out our list of 15 of the best books in translation from the past year.
It seems the reading world can't get enough of these psychological thrillers starring deceptive, unreliable female characters. Knight plays with our allegiances in this juicy domestic noir, already in the works to become a film with 20th Century Fox. Her debut tells the story of Catherine, a successful documentary filmmaker who receives a manuscript that describes in excruciating detail a day from her life she has tried so hard to forget. And at the end of the manuscript, Catherine's character dies. In alternating chapters, readers meet Stephen Brigstocke, who knows Catherine's secret all too well.
She tries to dislodge it with thoughts of the previous evening, before she picked up the book. The contentment of settling into their new home: of wine and supper; curling up on the sofa; dozing in front of the TV and then she and Robert melting into bed. A quiet happiness she had taken for granted: but it is too quiet to bring her comfort. She cannot sleep so she gets out of bed and goes downstairs.
They still have a downstairs, just about. A maisonette, not a house anymore. They moved from the house three weeks ago. Two bedrooms now, not four. Two bedrooms are a better fit for her and Robert. One for them. One spare. They've gone for open plan too. No doors. They don't need to shut doors now Nicholas has left. She turns on the kitchen light and takes a glass from the cupboard and fills it. No tap. Cool water on command from the new fridge. It's more like a wardrobe than a fridge. Dread slicks her palms with sweat. She is hot, almost feverish, and is thankful for the coolness of the newly laid limestone floor. The water helps a little. As she gulps it down she looks out of the vast glass windows running along the back of this new, alien home. Only black out there. Nothing to see. She hasn't got round to blinds yet. She is exposed. Looked at. They can see her, but she can't see them.
What are you reading today?