Lately I’ve been fixated on the chopped salad at Zinburger.
I ordered it in the first place because I’m trying to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I eat, and when it showed up at the table, I was amazed at how finely chopped everything was: carrots, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, all in uniform squares smaller than the kernels of corn. (The diced avocado pieces were bigger, and there was also crumbled feta cheese and lettuce. Delightful.)
The culinary term for a cut this small is brunoise, which is achieved by first julienning the food, then turning it sideways to cube it into 1/8-inch pieces. There’s one cut that’s even tinier, called fine brunoise. A blog named The Junior Chef has illustrated the size of all the different cuts — check it out. (When you know that the blogger is all of 12 years old, it’s even more impressive. At 12 years old, I think I was lucky to be placing spaghetti noodles in boiling water. (OK, maybe I was a little more advanced than that.)
I posted on Facebook: “They have to have a machine that does that, right?” and my friend CJ said: “Yes. His name is Juan.” (When I asked my server on my most recent trip, she let it slip that she thought there was a machine used … but then became cagey about details.)
I particularly appreciate the finely cubed vegetables in the Zinburger salad because I am not a fan of fresh tomatoes or cucumbers — or, really, radishes — but these have been cut so small that it would be excruciating work to pick them out. So I’m forced to eat them, which is good nutritionally and helps me partake of a wider variety of vegetables than I normally might. (More about that later.)
Plus, their tiny size means their flavor doesn’t overpower any single bite, so it’s not like at any time I thought: “Ugh, radishes.”
Anyway, I briefly considered trying to re-create it at home, but I would probably just run everything through a food processor and call it good. My new issue of Everyday Food has a recipe from Jamie Oliver that does exactly that — the Shredded Rainbow Salad includes roughly equal proportions of beets, red cabbage, carrots, white cabbage and pears, run through a food processor’s grater attachment (in that order to minimize beet bleeding, as recalled here).
An easy way to taste the rainbow, yes? Speaking of … I just happened to have written a food article about that very topic awhile back.
(Click on either page to bring up a full-size version in a new browser window.)
This is, by the way, the article that inspired me to start including more onions and garlic in my cooking. Vitamin C and cancer-fighting? I guess that’s worth a little bad breath. (I still hate red onions, though. And yes, those are four separate links to meals I tried — or refused — to make with red onions.)
|WHAT SAM WORE: 8-26-12|
|The shirt: Cotton T-shirt from the J. Crew outlet store in Anthem.|
|The shorts: Cutoff corduroys, on sale at Lucky Brand, Chandler Fashion Center.|
|The shoes: Jack Purcell sneakers by John Varvatos for Converse,
from Nordstrom Rack in Scottsdale.