In spite of the occasional rain shower, the days continue to heat up to the nineties. “Cool cooking” is still en vogue, so let’s examine the salad. Ripping up a plate of cool, crisp lettuce won’t heat your house a bit. And with a few small additions, a salad can become a meal.
The Chef’s Salad
Believed to have originated in Buffalo, New York, at a hotel in the 1920’s where the chef had a tight budget, the Chef’s Salad consists of a bed of lettuce topped with hard-boiled eggs, strips of meat, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, and your choice of dressing. For easy meat, go to our deli and ask for chicken, turkey, or ham sliced as thickly as possible; then cut it into strips. Vegetarians, enjoy your own Chef’s Salad with strips of Tofurky slices.
The Beany Proteiny
For this easy salad, top your lettuce with sunflower seeds, chickpeas or kidney beans (drained and rinsed from a can), corn kernels stripped off the cob (they’re extra sweet if you eat them raw), and ranch dressing.
The Irresistible Menu Salad
Restaurant menus always have one of these: delicate mixed greens topped with crumbled goat cheese, bits of fruit (try juicy wedges of peach), sugared pecans, and a tangy vinaigrette. Try local Holly Groves chevre. Make sugared pecans in the toaster: mix 1 cup pecan halves, 1 tablespoon each vegetable oil and packed brown sugar, and (optional) ¼ teaspoon each ground red pepper and ground cumin for a spicy twist. Toss to coat, then bake in an even layer for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
The Caprese Salad
Don’t forget the good old caprese: slices of tomato and fresh mozzarella, sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, topped with fresh basil leaves. It may seem like old news now that tomato season is well underway; but remember, the tomatoes won’t last forever! Enjoy as many fresh, local caprese salads as you can while the supply lasts.