Summer Salads

by Anne Bennett on June 14, 2010

Last weekend we attended a wedding reception that featured a wonderful summer-themed dinner. Mother-of-the-bride Kathleen is a Francophile and a fabulous cook; the menu epitomized the way she approaches food–seasonal, fresh, using the highest quality ingredients you can get.

The salad contained fresh cherries–in season now–with pistachios and warm goat cheese toasts. Lovely. I made a version of it last night to go with our weekly roast chicken (I’ll have to post a recipe for that as soon as I can get a picture of it before Champ carves it up!).

Fruit is not a novel salad ingredient: strawberries have long been a staple in spinach salads. The key is to use whatever is in season–in the summer, cherries, blackberries, blueberries. In the winter, apples, oranges, pears.

Add your favorite extras–a few toasted nuts, hearts of palm, dried fruit. Or grill some large shrimp and make this a main-course salad.

Perfect summer accompaniment to roast free-range chicken

Fresh cherries, halved
Baby salad greens
Goat cheese
Lemon vinaigrette

Combine cherries and greens in a salad bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Crumble goat cheese onto individual servings.

Lemon vinaigrette

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2. T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed (but not broken-hearted)
1/4 to 1/2 t. kosher or sea salt

Whisk together ingredients and lightly dress salad.

Classic vinaigrettes are usually made with a ratio of one part vinegar or lemon juice to three parts oil. If you want to lighten yours, add more lemon juice; it will be tangier, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If your salad includes grilled shrimp, serve with lemon wedges.

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kaye June 14, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Speaking of summer salads with fruit, we love the Mediterranean concept of citrus as salad, and it complements so many summer entrees–especially seafood. Actually, there are no greens: citrus is the base, and other wonderful things like olives and avocados are included. A brief education and yummy recipes are available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11food-t-000.html?scp=3&sq=orange avocado&st=cse

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