I "retired" from the corporate world a couple of years ago because I wanted to experience a real life after years of 80 hour work weeks and constant travel. A year later I realized that I was having a really good time, was always busy (how did i ever fit in a job??) and needed a creative outlet to share my experiences. Now I split my time between California and New Mexico but, wherever I am, I write about delicious, fresh, local, organic/sustainably grown food.
I was invited to a dinner party last Saturday night and this was the answer to my question "What can I make?" I happily agreed and decided to make my favorite salad of summer, appropriately named, Farmers' Market Salad.
This is one of those non-recipe, recipes. The ingredients listed below are just guidelines. My suggestion is to make a shopping list of the necessary items for the vinaigrette and pesto. Ensure you have everything on your list. Then go to your favorite local farmers' market and buy big bunches of whatever is in season...whatever looks good. The only non-negotiables (in my opinion) are perfect, in-season tomatoes and the freshest possible corn on the cob. Then mix in your favorite greens and vegetables and you are set. Zucchini, summer squash, scallions, roasted beets, onions, herbs, peppers...the list goes on and on and the variations are endless. Add a protein like grilled chicken, fish or steak and you have your main course.
This week's salad included onions, sweet red bell pepper, fresh herbs and a mixture of 4 different greens added to the aforementioned grilled corn and sweet tomatoes. Tossed with an herb vinaigrette (I used basil and mint) and topped with fresh croutons...some drizzled with olive oil and the rest spread with a delicious basil pesto...this was a perfect example of why I so love eating/cooking at the height of summer. Delicious. Oh...and the dinner party? Great food, lovely wine, good friends and held in a elegant & beautiful earthship (that story for another time) . Happy mid July everyone!
Farmers Market Salad
2 ears corn on the cob
5 thick slices good sourdough or whole wheat bread
Grill or broil bread until golden brown with grill marks on both sides. Brush olive oil on 3 slices of bread. Thickly spread pesto on remaining 2 slices of bread. Cut each slice of bread into 4 pieces. Set croutons aside
Add the greens, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, to a large bowl. Add the reserved corn and large pinch each of salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with 1/3 cup vinaigrette and add the olive oil topped croutons. Toss salad . Add additional dressing if desired but take care not to overdress. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Top salad with pesto croutons and serve immediately.
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup fresh herbs (1 or a mix, your choice of mint, tarragon, thyme)
1 clove, fresh garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp water
freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
1/2 cup pine nuts 2 oz parmigiano-reggiano cheese, cut into 2 pieces 2 garlic cloves 1 fresh red cayenne pepper (or other fresh hot red pepper), seeded 5 cups basil leaves (packed) 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Toast pine nuts in skillet until just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add cheese to food processor fitted with the chopping/mixing blade. Process until cheese is grated. Add cooled pine nuts, garlic and red pepper and process until all ingredients are finely grated. Add half of basil leaves and 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth but with a bit of texture. Add remaining basil, remaining olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Process until well mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Scrape into small bowl and cover with thin layer of olive oil. Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe