The sun stays out later in the summer, and vegetables and fruit taste so excellent that it doesn’t take much work to prepare delicious, filling dinners. Happily, the price of fresh produce has not increased as much as other components this year, and it is particularly flavorful right now.
We have provided formulas for twenty of our favourite pairings. Buy whatever appears and smells the most inviting (and costs the least), then experiment with the quantities suggested using whatever makes the most sense for you and your taste.
The following salad recipes cover all the bases: crisp and fresh leafy tosses; durable mixtures that may sit out for a couple of hours or be made the day before; robust pasta, grains, and beans that can bulk up a meal – or be the meal itself; and fruit combinations that are both sweet and savoury.
Feel free to make these your own. Substitute softer lettuces for bitter ones, use a range of fruits rather than a single type, and either go crazy with the herbs or banish them (hello, coriander!). Salt enhances flavours, tames harshness, and balances sweetness and acidity, whilst pepper imparts a flowery punch. Whatever you do, do not worry about it. It is summer, so cooking should be simple.
Crunchy Greens With Carrot-ginger Dressing
This recipe was inspired by the flavour of green salads with carrot-ginger dressing served in Japanese American restaurants. The dressing may be the main attraction, but a salad is only as wonderful as its lettuce. After washing and thoroughly spin-drying the greens in a salad spinner (or patting them dry with a clean kitchen towel), one approach to maximise their crunch before adding the dressing is to chill them for at least 30 minutes with the lid on. Little Gem has a robust sweetness and juiciness, but packaged mixed greens, baby spinach, and chopped romaine hearts can also be used.
To make the dressing, purée the carrot, ginger, olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, onion powder, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of cold water in a food processor for 1 to 2 minutes, or until as smooth as possible.
Prepare the salad by placing the lettuce in a large serving bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the dressing and mix, then add more as necessary to coat the salad evenly. The salad should be gently dressed, not drenched; do not use every last drop of dressing if it is not required. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt if required. Serve the salad immediately with the mint leaves on top.
Rocket Salad With Parmesan
It is not necessary to emulsify a dressing for a magnificent salad; instead, consider the oil and acid as seasonings for a vegetable. This dish calls for the peppery rocket, olive oil, lemon, and parmesan shards to produce a salad that is a staple in many Italian restaurants and households. But, the order of olive oil and lemon, like many seemingly easy questions, is complex. James Beard, Marcella Hazan, Deborah Madison, and Judy Rodgers all concurred: for a brighter-tasting salad, begin with olive oil, which binds the liquids to the greens better and does not overpower the lemon. Make sure to choose robust greens, then taste the dressed leaves and tweak the seasonings until the rocket tastes its best.
Put the arugula in a very large bowl, preferably one that can accommodate twice as many leaves as the amount of arugula. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and lightly toss with your hands, then add the lemon juice and 14 tsp of salt. Toss the greens lightly until they are uniformly glossy; avoid overmixing or crushing them.
Add the Parmesan cheese and mix to combine. Taste. If the salad is too astringent, add an additional drop of oil and mix. Add a pinch of salt and some lemon juice to the salad, then toss. Consume immediately.
Radicchio Caesar Salad
This aromatic variation on caesar salad utilises a whole can of anchovies and replaces romaine lettuce with deliciously sharp radicchio. For the dressing, you could use a raw egg yolk and slowly stream in the oil while whisking continually, but relying on the emulsifying properties of store-bought mayonnaise is easier and yields creamier results. This salad does not store well; thus, it should be consumed immediately, while the radicchio is still plump and crisp. This dish contains no extra salt because the anchovies flavour both the breadcrumbs and the sauce. But, if your radicchio is very bitter, despite the fact that bitterness may be a delightful flavour, feel free to add a touch of salt to tame the bitterness.
Add the entire amount of anchovy oil from the can (about 2 teaspoons) to a big frying pan. Take the anchovies from their tin to a cutting board and thoroughly drain them. Add two anchovies that have been finely chopped to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Sauté the anchovies, stirring periodically, for one minute, or until they begin to crackle. Add the breadcrumbs and heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until golden and toasted. Move to a plate lined with paper towels.
Prepare the dressing by reserving four anchovies for garnish and mincing the remaining anchovies finely (there should be about 6). Add the chopped anchovies, garlic, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and parmesan to a large bowl. Add pepper liberally, then whisk to blend.
Dress the salad by mixing the radicchio leaves with the dressing. The salad should be prepared lightly, not heavily. If your radicchio is particularly bitter, temper the acidity by adding extra lemon juice. Move the leaves to a big plate and pile them high. Garnish with the remaining anchovies and a final grating of parmesan and breadcrumbs. Serve without delay.
Chicken And Herb Salad With Nuoc Cham
This simple, tasty salad is topped with Nuoc cham, a Vietnamese sauce made with lime juice and chilli peppers, to provide a salty-sweet flavour. Pepper and cabbage give crispness, while chicken plucked from a store-bought rotisserie chicken — or any leftover chicken – absorbs the dressing. Serve on its own or with steamed rice or cooked rice vermicelli at room temperature.
In a large basin, combine the sugar and sixty millilitres of water. Whisk the sugar to dissolve it. Add garlic, chilli, lime juice, and fish sauce to the dish. Stir to mix.
To the dressing, add the chicken, cabbage, cucumbers, and bell pepper. Toss to combine. Add the leafy greens, basil, and mint to the dish. Toss to blend.
To serve, divide the salad among bowls and garnish with crispy shallots.
An excellent chopped salad has a variety of textures (creamy, crisp, crispy, and juicy), colours, and sweet, salty, and sour flavours. This one has everything in perfect proportions. You may prepare all the ingredients, including the bacon and eggs, in advance. But, do not combine the ingredients until shortly before serving, and if possible, do it at the table for maximum impact.
Prepare the dressing by grating the lemon into a small dish, slicing the lemon in half, and squeezing the juice into the bowl. Stir in the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste; leave aside.
Place romaine lettuce in a big bowl and top with tomatoes, bacon, cucumber, blue cheese, and spring onions. Pour in approximately two-thirds of the dressing, then mix until the salad is evenly coated.
The salad is then topped with sliced avocado and eggs, and lightly salted and peppered (especially the avocado, which can take a lot of salt). Serve salad drizzled with leftover dressing.
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