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Salad Days: 3 of the Season’s Best Salads

Salad Days: 3 of the Season’s Best Salads

Nothing adds more color, flavor and freshness to a table than these great salads.

We’ve been entertaining this summer with salads.  Not just your garden variety green salad which is pretty much a year-round item on the dinner table.  Instead, we’re using as many seasonal vegetables and fruits as we can lay our hands on. We are blessed with amazing produce here on the eastern end of Long Island.  The season’s salad seems to be the Peach and Tomato Salad featured here. That is until I looked at the source of the recipe and it was dated 2017!  We’ve been switching things up in that salad and we love the results. But confession time: Our other two entries don’t entirely rely on what’s at farmers’ markets right now: English cucumbers are most often grown in greenhouses. And our truly green salad with its three kinds of peas uses frozen baby peas along with the snap and snow peas.  Both salads are so good, we hope you’ll ignore our faux pas.

What makes a salad a salad?

The root of the word salad is ‘salt’.  They’ve been eaten since Roman times. Salty oil and vinegar dressings go all the way back to Rome too. The title of today’s post, “Salad Days” meaning “a time of youthful inexperience”—is based on the notion of “green” comes from Shakespeare and was written by him in 1606.  The “Salad Bar” isn’t exactly a new concept.  The first of them appeared in 1937.  Salad-Only Restaurants like Chop’t and Sweetgreen do $300 million in business a year. But the real money is in bagged greens and salad kits where sales are now $7 billion a year. Here are today’s Salad recipes and after them, some other salads to enjoy.

Peach and Tomato Salad

As pictured, this is the first of several of these salads we’ve made this summer.  The key here is ripe peaches.  You can go with any tomatoes you fancy but we’d highly recommend field tomatoes or heirlooms.  They’re at their peak and with any luck, they’ll keep coming through September.  The basil adds a lot to this dish—fragrance when you serve it, flavor when you eat it.   One key ingredient that you won’t see in this picture is red onion  This is ‘pickled’ in the honey dressing before being added to the salad at the last minute. This salad is very adaptable. We’ve added cucumber wedges to it. We’ve also seen versions of this recipe that add toasted pecans and feta cheese. To us, that’s truly gilding the lily in this spectacular salad.

English Cucumber Salad

Thin slices of cooling cucumber are topped with a Honey Dijon dressing and thin slices of red onion.  The onion steeps in the dressing for half hour before you toss it into the bowl with the cucumber.   Slicing the cucumber thin requires great knife skills. Even better at the job is a mandolin.  Ours is made by OXO and costs about $80. And it’s worth every penny.  Just be super cautious using it. There’s a device that holds whatever you’re cutting firmly in place. In the case of cucumber, you may not need it. Just stop cutting when you get about an inch from the blade.  Photo courtesy of “A Farm Girl Dabbles”

Green Pea Salad

I really wanted a Green Salad and the result was this stunning creation which features 3 different kinds of peas.  This creates a nice contrast in texture—the crispness of the snap peas, the mellow flavor of the snow peas, and the sweetness of baby green peas. Yes, they were frozen but you can go all fresh with English peas if you’d like.  The dressing here should be added at the very last minute to keep the salad as green as you see it here. I made a Lemon Vinaigrette with a soupcon of mustard, a clove of garlic, a lemon, and its zest.

Peach and Tomato Salad

August 4, 2022
: 12
: 30 min
: If you can peel a peach...

This wonderful combination is both sweet and tangy and full of flavor and freshness.

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 medium ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into wedges
  • 2 lbs of tomatoes cut into wedges and then halved
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Basil leaves to add as garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large bowl, whisk together Balsamic, Olive Oil, Honey, Salt, and black pepper. Add red onion. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Bring water to boil in a large pot. Use a paring knife to cut cross shapes on the base of the fruit. When the water boils, immerse the peaches in it. Within a minute or two, the skins should easily pull away from the peaches. Remove them from the water, set them aside to cool slightly, then slice them into wedges, discarding the pit.
  • Step 3 Cut the tomatoes into wedges and halve the wedges.
  • Step 4 Put the peaches and tomatoes into the bowl with the dressing and onions, and toss gently.
  • Step 5 Top with basil leaves and serve.

English Cucumber Salad

August 4, 2022
: 8
: 40 min
: Easy...especially with a mandoline.

Cool and zesty, this cucumber salad will become a summer staple

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. whole-grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 English Cucumber cut into 1/8 slices
  • 1 tbsp. Chopped Dill
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the dressing/marinade for the onions
  • Step 2 In a jar with a lid, add vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Shake well to mix. Add the onion. Let it pickle for 30 minutes. (Note: Onions can be pickled 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate if not using right away)
  • Step 3 Stir together the sliced cucumber and dill in a bowl. Drain any excess water. Toss salad with dressing and onions just prior to serving.

Green Pea Salad

August 4, 2022
: 8
: 15 min
: 5 min
: 20 min
: Easy

A delightful lemony sweet pea salad with a hint of garlic.

By:

Ingredients
  • 12 oz. Snow Peas
  • 12 oz. Snap Peas
  • 1 cup Frozen Baby Peas or 1 cup English Peas
  • For the Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon, halved
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Directions
  • Step 1 While you trim the snap and snow peas, bring a large pot of water to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  • Step 2 Once the stems have been removed, add the snap peas to the boiling water. Once they have turned vivid green, for about 2 to 3 minutes, remove them from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice water.
  • Step 3 Repeat with the snap peas which will take slightly longer given their thickness.
  • Step 4 Finally, cook the frozen peas until they turn bright green and then put them into the ice water.
  • Step 5 Drain the ice water bowl and leave the peas in it.
  • Step 6 To Make the Dressing:
  • Step 7 Take the juice of 1 whole lemon and combine it with the olive oil in a bowl. Add the minced garlic, half the zest of the lemon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Step 8 Once the Salad is ready to serve, toss the peas in the dressing, garnish with the rest of the lemon zest and serve immediately.

 

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