August is the month of total abundance in my kitchen garden. So much is ready for picking that it’s getting pretty challenging to keep up with it all!
I absolutely love eating veggies and fruit right out of the garden, and hate the thought of any of this beautiful stuff (that’s at its peak of flavor) going to waste. So with such abundance comes overload. What to do?
My go-to summer meal…..a fabulous salad. Now, my salad is not ordinary by any means. You see, I “build” my salads. And the building parts must be colorful, textural, and diversified in flavor.
If I’m preparing for a larger group, I’ll create this fresh masterpiece in one super-sized bowl. But for an intimate dinner for 4 or less, I have to admit, my favorite way to build salads is on individual dinner plates taking everyone’s preferences into account.
Either way (just like flower arranging) I always start with a foundation of mixed greens. And every time I layer in different parts, I have a whole new flavor combination that keeps it new and interesting.
The Salad Parts (not necessarily all at the same time)
Assorted fresh greens: Bibb lettuce, Red leaf lettuce, Mesclun, Endive, Arugula, Spinach, Swiss Chard
Tomatoes (large tomatoes quartered, cherry tomatoes halved)
Peppers (thinly sliced lengthwise and cut in half)
Radishes (thinly sliced)
Cucumbers (thinly sliced)
Onions (thinly sliced and cut in half)
Haricot Vert (whole or cut)
Hard boiled eggs (quartered)
Smoked Bacon (chopped or crumbled)
Smoked Cheddar Cheese (cubed)
Grilled chicken breast (sliced or chopped)
Grilled shrimp or scallops (whole)
Croutons (Homemade or in a pinch I love to use John Wm. Macy’s Cheese Crisps)
Fresh herbs: Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Tarragon, Chives, Basil (coursely chopped)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
*A big hit around here for a salad dressing is Julia Child’s recipe for vinaigrette: http://noramurphycountryhouse.com/2012/05/a-perfect-little-vinaigrette/