Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer's Best Salad

Recipe from the Kitchen of Alice Wootton
Serves 6 or so

Every year during the peak of summer, we go to Bill's (one of my bandmates) house for a get-together. We swim, talk on the porch, eat, eat, eat and then play live music all night long with musician buddies who attend. You can count on the table loaded with summer's bounty. This is what I brought this year. Isn't it pretty?! This involved no cooking, and thank goodness, because we had a heat advisory at the time and I certainly didn't want to heat up the house cooking over a hot stove. I made Blue Cheese Vinaigrette (recipe on this blog) in advance, put it in a jar and then took this salad on a platter to the party. I took the photo whilst the guests waited with forks in hand. This platter was completely cleaned up within one minute, I kid you not! It got a big thumbs up from the men folk too. So, this is a great way to use those lovely, juicy homegrown tomatoes while they are at their peak. To make this a main dish, just add some beans that have been rinsed and drained.

1 small cucumber (peeled, seeded and sliced thin)
Kosher salt
1/4 large onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings or pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 to 3 tomatoes (I used yellow and red tomatoes.)
1 cup or so cherry tomatoes (I used red cherry and yellow pear tomatoes.)
1 can cannelini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)
Blue Cheese Vinaigrette (recipe on this blog) or your favorite vinaigrette

Place the cucumber slices in a small bowl filled with ice water. Add about 1/2 Tablespoon of Kosher salt. Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. (Soaking the cucumbers in salted iced water makes the cucumbers cold and crisp.) In another small bowl, pour milk over the onions and place in the refrigerator. (Soaking the onions in milk lessens the bite of the onions and mellows out their taste.) Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a platter. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and arrange on the platter. Drain and rinse the cucumbers and onions. Arrange on the salad platter. Scatter the beans (if using) over the salad. Serve at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle with the Blue Cheese Vinaigrette.









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