I’ve been meaning to blog about each of these salads, but the days are just so filled in the summertime that food blog posts get buried at the bottom of the pile. But I wanted a record of the salads we’ve loved, to make it easier for next summer.
The amounts I’m giving here are approximate, as they’re sorta the put-together-with-whatever-you-have salads. If one or two items are missing, don’t worry about it. Whenever I make a salad, I try to have some salty, some sweet, some sour, some fatty-crunchy element in the form of nuts or bacon, some soft-to-creamy element and LOTS OF crispy-crunchy veggies and/or greens. Here, without further ado, are three salads for you to experiment with and enjoy:
This would be perfect for celebrating the feastday of any of our Italian summertime Saints, like St. Anthony of Padua (well okay, he was born Portuguese, but he did live and die in Padova) or St. Alphonsus Liguori.
1 zucchini, sliced thin (preferably from a zuke harvested young, so the seeds aren’t very prominent yet)
a few red radishes, sliced thin
1 avocado, cubed (mine was a bit on the overripe side, it doesn’t hurt the texture or flavor, but it’s not as aesthetically pleasing )
1 medium cucumber, peeled if you like and cubed
cherry or pear tomatoes, halved
red or orange pepper, diced
feta cheese, crumbled
a bit of red onion, sliced thin
some jicama, diced
lime juice + sherry or other white wine vinegar
toasted and ground up cumin, a few pinches
ground cardamom, a few pinches
1 large garlic clove, mashed to a paste with some sea salt
extra virgin olive oil
cilantro, a small handful, minced
additional sea salt to taste
a teeny tiny bit of minced jalapeño if you want some heat (optional)
Variation: Half of the avocado can also be mashed up and mixed or blended with the dressing ingredients to get a mayo-like thickness.
a large jicama, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
juice of an orange, plus another orange cut into supremes
juice and a bit of zest from half a grapefruit
juice of a lemon
sea salt to taste
a couple of pinches cayenne pepepr
a handful of red radishes, julienned
small handful cilantro, minced
Toss everything together and put in the fridge until chilled. I was never a big jicama fan growing up though some family members loved it, but I love what the Mexicans do with them! A simpler version would be just jicama, the juice of either lemon or lime, and some cayenne.
This is my most favorite yet, except for the fact that I still have to use the stove and oven… but the results are just worth it so I’m willing to put up with some heat in the kitchen. And it really is more of a fall salad, but I just *love* walnuts and will use any excuse to use them in a salad, especially toasted like this, even if it’s in the middle of summer!
A handful of walnuts, tossed with a bit of oil (walnut if you have it) and some salt and pepper, then toasted in the oven at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes or just until fragrant (do not burn!!!!)
a few tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Some red onion, sliced thin (I used about a quarter of a large one)
Cut up red cabbage (I used about half of a fairly large head)
Several splashes balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A really crunchy apple, quartered or sixthed or eighthed then sliced thinly — I prefer Golden Delicious or Granny Smith for this, but only found Galas when I was at the store, so I got that instead
Feta or Jack or whatever salty cheese you like, diced
a couple of tablespoons of parsley and/or marjoram, minced
Set aside the walnuts (chop into bits if you like, I prefer to leave them whole).
In a large skillet, heat up olive oil and garlic just until garlic is sizzling (DO NOT BROWN). Add red onion and stir a bit, just to soften slightly, but NOT UNTIL LIMP, you want a bit of crunch left. Add the cabbage, stir a bit, then the balsamic vinegar. Sauté until cabbage is somewhat wilted but still on the crunchy side. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more vinegar if it isn’t tart enough. Stir a couple minutes more, then remove to a large bowl. Add the apple slices and the walnuts. Toss, toss, toss. Top with the diced cheese and sprinkle the herbs over all. Enjoy warm.