Thursday, May 26, 2016

How Does My Garden Grow: Summer Vegetable Salad

The summer garden is in full swing. The beans are abundant, squashes are arriving, tomatoes are ripening, spring onions are ready, and we have harvested the last of the remaining spring carrots and beets.

Mother Nature produces phenomenal flavors and textures, and she intends for you to enjoy it as close to nature as possible.  This salad stays close to its roots and is made with only a handful of fresh ingredients.  If you have ever played in the dirt (a/k/a gardening) and harvested fresh vegetables then I don't have to describe the phenomenal flavors, colors and textures.

If you enjoy summer vegetables salads don't limit yourself to only the ingredients listed here in my recipe.  Mix and match, and use what is seasonally available. 

An important ingredient in dressing salads is olive oil and all olive oils are not created equal.  Think of olive oil like wine and find the right match.  In this salad I created a light vinaigrette using a Tuscan style citrus blend (lemon, lime and tangerine) olive oil which adds brightness and paired perfectly with this fresh summer salad.  If you are interested in high quality olive oils then check out  Pasolivo Olive Oils hand crafted olive oils from California.


Salads like this one remind me at the end of the day simple is indeed best.



Summer Vegetable Salad
Serves 6


Ingredients:
1-lb. Use any combination mixed fresh beans,  cut into thirds 
1-2 zucchini sliced and cut into 1' quarters
1-2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
Medium onion, chopped
1 cup good quality feta cheese

For the Vinaigrette 
1/4 cup Pasolivo olive oil or other high quality olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of Fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil  (if using fresh double the amount)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano (if using fresh double the amount)

Directions:
Prep all the vegetables. Bring a large pot with a pinch of salt to a boil.  Add vegetables and cook 2-3 minutes.  Immediately drain and then add to an ice water bath to stop cooking (Tip: Keeps vegetables bright). Drain well.  Add vegetables to a large bowl.

For the Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl whisk together vinegar,  salt, black pepper, mustard, basil and oregano.  Slowly whisk  in olive oil to emulsify.

Note: You can add all the salad dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake until the dressing is emulsified.

Enjoy!