Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Salad Days

In these lazy, hot, summer days, where the abundance of fresh produce abounds, a good salad can make the perfect meal. There are infinite combinations one can put together to create a wonderful salad. But having a good vinaigrette to complete it is essential. Here are just a few of my favorite combos, so far this summer.

Early in the season I lightly steamed fresh peas & asparagus to toss with garden fresh lettuce & thinly sliced radishes. Below a combination of lettuces, tiny, multi-colored, heirloom tomatoes & lightly steamed, tender, yellow beans ( green beans would also be perfect ) is finished with lots of fresh basil.

To make an easy but delicious dressing, I cut up a clove of garlic in the bottom of a salad bowl & cover it with salt. Let rest for a few minuets & then mash into a paste with the back of a wooden spoon. Add one large spoon of vinegar to three large spoons of oil & whisk. That's it ! So simple & so good, any salad combination will be delicious.

Of course, the ingredients you use, will make all the difference in your sauce, as well as your salad. I usually use a good quality balsamic vinegar & a light oil for my dressing. This summer I have been using walnut oil, which is produced & made in this region. I do not usually use olive oil for this dressing, unless it has a very mild flavor.

Another of my favorite summer salads, here in France, is one with melon & walnuts. The melon here is sweeter & juicier than the American cantaloupe but I think a good ripe cantaloupe would do just fine. With this salad I like to use a raspberry vinegar for the sauce.

Sometimes, although salad is all you really want, there is still a need to have something hot. On just such an occasion, I created this hot potato salad. I quickly sautéed one large red tomato & one large yellow tomato with garlic in extra virgin olive oil. I added this to cooked & still hot new potatoes, which had been cut in half ( I used a combination of red & golden new potatoes ) & steamed tender yellow or green beans.

Finish this salad with the juice of a half of a lemon, salt & pepper, & lots & lots of fresh basil. Serve hot or at room temperature. So good & pretty too! What are some of your favorite summer salads?



  1. If only I could get my family to eat just salad for dinner. Life would be easy. These look delicious.

  2. I love to cut up an avocado or two, ripe tomatoes, pick some fresh basil to chop, douse generously with fresh squeezed lemon juice and add a bit of mild olive oil. Salt & Pepper to taste.

    Nice alone as a side or on a bed of fresh lettuce!

    All of your salads are divine! and divinely inspiring! Thanks.