While cooking, listen to this: Right As Rain by Adele
We love to have fun with food on this blog. Be creative, come up with that perfect dish for that special occasion, make something out-of-the-ordinary to spice up a typical Sunday evening.
But sometimes, you just want something quick that you can throw together in a fit of ravenous rage. Something equal parts satisfying and deliciously simple. Full of flavor and texture that doesn't require a lot of space or even a lot of skill. That, my friends, is the summer salad.
The summer salad is the salad you eat when it's too hot to think of anything else. The salad that uses all the produce the season has to offer - the salad that contains both fruit AND vegetables. This salad is the salad you eat standing up because it's so damn delicious you don't want to waste another second walking across the kitchen to the table.
I've always been known for my salad expertise. Salad combinations come naturally to me - it's a talent I'm especially proud of and one that will come in handy when I write my future/dream salad cookbook. A riff off your typical caprese salad, which is a personal favorite, this salad is summer in a bowl. All of the best summer ingredients, tossed together in zippy basil vinaigrette from culinary genius Gaby of What's Gaby Cooking.
As much as I'm eager for fall (it's my favorite season), I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to summer. Though summer in the city isn't the most ideal (hello concrete jungle), I'm looking to get my final fill of Mister Softee cones, sunshine walks in the park, farmers market produce and stinky subway stations (just kidding on that last one).
I whipped this salad up over the Fourth of July when my family visited Lake Tahoe. It was the life of the party, even briefly outshining the hamburgers and hotdogs. So, whether you're looking for something quick for a solo meal, or a salad to take to an end-of-the-summer barbecue, the salad queen has got your back. (I've coronated myself).
So, kick up your feet, crank open the window and dig in with a good friend, a good book or a good glass of wine (or all three).
SUMMER SALAD + BASIL VINAIGRETTE
Yield: 4 side salads or 2 meal salads
Cook Time: 15-20m
Category: Salad, Vegan-Friendly, No-Cook
Source: adapted from What's Gaby Cooking
3 cups arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes, insides scooped out
1 cup avocados, sliced
1 cup peaches, sliced
1 cup fresh mozzerella
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed (about 4 ounces)
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Make the dressing: combine all dressing ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth, about 45 seconds.
Prepare the salad: in a large bowl, combine the arugula, tomatoes, peaches, mozzarella and avocado. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using.
To serve: add the dressing to the salad just before serving.
To keep: store all salad components separately. The dressing should last about three days in an air-tight container.
To make vegan: Simply omit the cheese. You can even bulk up this salad by adding some cooked farro or roasted corn.