Summer Bliss (aka: How to learn to love salads)

 Summer fruit and veg are just irresistible to me.  Tomatoes, figs, peaches, nectarines, pluots, berries.  So good.

If you’re not into salads, summer is the time to start.  The cookbook that made me finally get salads is Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan. The genius of this book is right there in the sub-title: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year.

There’s a ton of different flavor profiles: French, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Indian, favorites and favorites with a twist…  Many of these salads are meals in themselves with protein  included.  Many are easily made into meals by adding some grilled chicken, salmon, tuna, steak, lamb, or shrimp.

Most weeks, usually Friday arvo or Saturday morning, I’ll flick through that month’s recipes and get some ideas.  Then, when I get to the market, I go with what looks good, and know I can look forward to some delicious days using what’s seasonal.  (Added benefit: if it’s in season, it’s often relatively cheaper)

This week has been ridiculous.  I’ve been teasing friends on Instagram and Facebook with some of the photos.  Here’s the recipe behind the food porn pic.  What makes this recipe rock:

  1. It looks and tastes amazing (thanks to the best heirloom tomatoes you can find, never refrigerated, just bursting with flavor and juices)
  2. The unexpected combo of oregano, and sherry vinegar (instead of basil and balsamic)
  3. You can let it sit a couple of hours and it just gets better (unlike most salads that need to be eaten almost as soon as they’re tossed with the dressing)

Heirloom Salad with Oregano, Sherry & Balsamic Vinegar (August 8, p. 183)

  • Serves 2 with 2-4 heirlooms, 4 with 6-8 (recipe below for 2, double for 4)
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Ahead: up to 2 hours
  • Ingredients:
    • 2-4 Heirloom tomatoes
    • 1 green onion (or 3-4 chives)
    • 1 clove garlic (optional)
    • 1-2 tsp fresh oregano
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Sherry vinegar
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO, a good salad-worthy one if you have it)
    • Salt (Maldon crystals are awesome, but regular salt works)
    • 1/4 tsp sugar (skip if desired)
    • Country-style bread for mopping up the juices (if you want 🙂 )
  1. Slice tomatoes a bit over a 1/4 inch thick.  Lay them out on plates or serving platter
  2. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste over the luscious beauties (do this from about 12 inches above the plate for a more even sprinkle)
  3. Finely chop the oregano & green onion (or chives), and mince the garlic (if using) and sprinkle over those tomatoes.
  4. Drizzle lightly with sherry and balsamic vinegar (a couple of drops per slice seems to work), drizzle more generously with the olive oil
  5. Try not to eat this goodness for at least 15 minutes.  It’s good to stand out for a couple of hours.  Then dive in.  No one will mind if you lick the plate.  You could always mop up the juices with a tasty bread.

What’s your favorite summer bliss?  Let me know if you want me to post more recipes 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Summer Bliss (aka: How to learn to love salads)

  1. Great recipe Rich. Have you tried to combine fresh figs, prosciutto (the good one, you can get some at Costco), mozarella and a vinaigrette of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and honey? Great combination of sweet and sour tastes. One of my favorites.

    Olivier

    • Olivier, Love that combination! Had a great gig salad earlier this week using this fantastic Speck Americano from La Quercia (they have it at Whole Foods). Sounds like another post 🙂

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