It's hot; it's summer; it's salad time! In my house, you won't find me anywhere near a stove for more than 10 minutes during the summer. It's just too hot for me to add more heat to my already sensitive temperament ;) So I make salads! I have one go to bible for making summer salads: Mark Bittman. I've professed my love for Mark before now and I will say when he published his 101 Summer Salads several years ago, I fell in love. I mean there isn't anything you can't find on that list that isn't amazing and perfect for ANY occassion.
Here are my top 10 from the list:
- Cube watermelon and combine with tomato chunks, basil and basic vinaigrette. You can substitute peach for the watermelon or the tomato (but not both, O.K.?). You can also add bacon or feta. This is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser and the kids LOVE it too!
- Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft. YUMMMM!
- Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans. This is one of my all-time favorite dishes; ever.
- Halve avocados and scoop out some but not all of their flesh. Roughly chop and toss with black beans, queso fresco, cilantro, chopped tomatillos and lime juice. Serve in the meaty avocado shells. So very refreshing and clean feeling to eat!
- Slice roasted red peppers (if you must use canned, try to find piquillos) and fresh mozzarella. Toss with cooked white beans, olive oil, red wine vinegar, a chopped shallot and fresh rosemary or parsley.
- Sort-of carpaccio salad: Broil or grill skirt or sirloin steak very rare and slice very thin. Arrange on a plate with tomato wedges, lettuce and lemon juice. So very good and melts in your mouth.
- Cut pancetta into matchsticks and crisp in a skillet with some oil, then caramelize onions in the fat. Toss both with chopped bitter greens — radicchio, escarole or endive, for example — toasted pine nuts and halved cherry or grape tomatoes. You had me at pancetta.
- Sort of classic pasta salad: Pasta, artichoke hearts, sliced prosciutto or salami, chopped plum tomato. Dress with olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar, perhaps with some mustard.
- Mash a canned chipotle with some of its adobo and stir with olive oil and lime juice. Toss with drained canned hominy, fresh corn cut from the cob (or drained pinto beans), cilantro and green onions. I think you can tell I tend to have a spicer palet.
- Mix lots of arugula with somewhat less cold whole wheat penne, lemon zest, olive oil and Parmesan. The idea is an arugula salad with pasta, not a pasta salad with arugula. Works well for my girls who MUST have pasta as often as possible.
So what do you think? Any of these sound yummy to you? Do you have any summer salads that you LOVE? Share and share alike!