Seven Summer Salads

“You need to have the soul of a rabbit to eat lettuce as it is usually served – green leaves slightly lubricated with oil and flavored with vinegar. A salad is only a background; it needs embroidering.” –Paul Roboux (taken from M.F.K. Fisher’s The Art of Eating)

Just as dreamy summer days are a background for endless possibilities of outdoor entertainment, summer salads are a background for endless possibilities of gastronomic entertainment.

Below are seven different recipes for your summer salads, one for each day of the week (note: we’ve included three different versions of the Nicoise Salad at the end). Happy Summer!

easy summer salad recipes1. Chopped Vegetable Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette (taken from Nordstrom’s Family Table Cookbook)

Ingredients for Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup aged sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup almond oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for salad:
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 & 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
6 ounces haricots verts or other thin green beans, trimmed
10 ounces mixed baby greens
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large below bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice
6 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 green onions, including pale green parts, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives for serving

To make the Sherry Vinaigrette, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 min. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and gradually add (while machine is running) the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and the 1/4 cup of almond oil until smooth.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Use a wire-mesh skimmer to scoop the carrots out of the water, and transfer them to a large bowl of ice water.

Add the corn to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer corn to bowl with carrots to cool. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Pat dry with paper towels and put in a large bowl.

Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Chop the green beans into 1/4-inch lengths. Pat dry with paper towels and add to the bowl with the carrots and corn.

In another large bowl place the mixed greens. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly. Divide equally among 6 chilled deep soup bowls or dinner plates, creating nests for the vegetable mixture.

Add the celery, jicama, bell peppers, tomatoes, and green onions to the corn mixture. Add 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette and mix well. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

Divide the vegetable mixture evenly among the salads, spooning it into the center of the greens in each bowl. Sprinkle with equal amounts of Parmigiano and chives. Serve immediately.

2. Layered Pea Salad (taken from Katie Lee Joel’s The Comfort Table)

1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1 &1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
One 10-ounce package frozen peas. thawed
8 scallions, white parts only, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 slices bacon, fried until crispy, drained, and crumbled
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Place the lettuce in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of celery, then the red pepper, the scallions, and the peas.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, and parsley. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over peas. Sprinkle with the cheese and the bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. Watermelon “Greek” Salad (taken from Katie Lee Joel’s The Comfort Table)

Ingredients for the salad:
6 cups romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1 cup cubed feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 medium red onion, very thinly sliced

Ingredients for the dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher slat
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, watermelon, feta, olives, and red onion.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until well blended.

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Watermelon salad recipe4. Chicken Club Salad (taken from Katie Lee Joel’s The Comfort Table)

4 bone-in chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bibb lettuce leaves
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees.

Place the chicken in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until cooked all the way through. Cool to the touch. Remove and discard the skin and bones, and cut the chicken into chunks.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Cool to the touch, then crumble.

In a large bowl, combine the avocado and lemon juice. Add the chicken, bacon, mayo, scallions, mustard, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until combined. Serve on a bed of lettuce, garnished with tomato wedges.

chicken club salad recipe5. Chicken with Tabbouleh (taken from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

1 & 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup Bulgur wheat
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone-in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh  mint leaves
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and medium-dices
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, pour the boiling water over the bulgur wheat. Add the lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the bulgur to stand at room temperature for about an hour.

Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into medium dice and add to the tabbouleh. Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Season to taste and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. The flavors will improve as it sits.

6. Iceberg Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon (taken from Nordstrom’s Family Table Cookbook)

Ingredients for Blue Cheese Dressing:
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
1/3 cup (about 1&1/2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Ingredients for salad:
8 ounces thick-sliced bacon
1 head iceberg lettuce, cored, quartered, and quarters halved crosswise to make 8 pieces
3 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
20 thinly sliced red onion rings
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1 & 1/2 cups Baked Candied Pecans (see below)

To make the Blue Cheese Dressing, in a small bowl, which 1 tablespoon water with the vinegar and dry mustard to dissolve the mustard. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire, Tabasco, garlic, salt, and white pepper and whisk to combine. Add the blue cheese and whisk again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors. (The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container of rip to 3 days)

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and browned. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Chop into 1/2-inch dice.

For each serving, place 2 tablespoons dressing in the center of each of 4 dinner plates. Place a wedge of lettuce, cut side down, on top of the dressing on each plate. Lean a second wedge across the first wedge.

Divide the remaining dressing evenly over the salads, carefully masking about a third of the lettuce with the dressing.

Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Evenly space 3 wedges, cut sides up, around the perimeter of each salad. Arrange equal amounts of the onion rings on the salads. Evenly divide equal amount of the chopped bacon and scatter the blue cheese crumbles over the salads, and top with the pecans. Grind fresh pepper over each and serve immediately.

Ingredients for Baked Candied Pecans:
2 & 1/2 cups (10 ounces) pecan halves
2 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir the pecans, sugar, 1/2 cup water, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook at a strong boil, being sure that the syrup does not boil over, for 4 minutes.

Carefully drain the pecans and their syrup in a heatproof colander in a sink. Immediately run got water into the sink (not over the pecans) to dilute the drained syrup so it doesn’t solidify.

Spread the drained pecans in a single layer, without touching each other, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the pecans are glossy and a mahogany color, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

7. Three versions of Nicoise Salad

The term nicoise is used to describe a salad made from ingredients commonly found in the region around Nice in southern France.

Version 1: Nicoise Salad with Salmon (taken from Nordstrom’s Family Table Cookbook)

Ingredients for Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

6 ounces haricots verts or other thin green beans, trimmed

Ingredients for Herb-Crusted Salmon:
3 green onions, including light green parts, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Six 4-ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Ingredients for salad:
1 pound mixed baby greens
12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalata olives
3 tablespoons nonpareil capers, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 & 1/2 cups Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, cooled to room temperature
1 large red onion thinly sliced into rings
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

salad nicoise recipeInstructions:
To make the Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette, in a blender process the vinegar, onion, mustard, brown sugar, salt, and pepper until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil in a thin, steady stream to form an emulsion. Add the basil and pulse to combine.

Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until they are bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels.

To make the Herb-Crusted Salmon, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix the green onions, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, and garlic together. Stir in the oil. Season the salmon on both sides with the salt and pepper. Place the salmon on the prepared baking sheet. Using a small rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, spread 1 teaspoon of the mustard over each fillet. Spread equal amounts of the her mixture evenly over the fillets. Roast until the salmon is barely opaque when flaked with the tip of a knife, about 7 minutes.

To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, place the greens, green beans, grape tomatoes, olives, and capers. Drizzle 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette over the top and toss well. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Divide the salad among 6 chilled salad bowls. Top each with equal amounts of the potatoes and red onion rings. Arrange 4 egg quarters around the perimeter of each salad. Top each salad with a warm salmon fillet. Serve immediately.

Version II: Nicoise Salad (taken from How to Boil an Egg from the famous “Rose Bakery” in Paris)

7 ounces fine green beans
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 small globe artichokes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 & 1/2 ounces mixed salad leaves
4 tomatoes, sliced, halved, or cut into wedges
1-2 small red onions, very thinly sliced
4-5 red radishes, very thinly sliced
4 ounces white tuna canned in oil, drained and flaked
1/2 cup black olives
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
1 scant cup Vinaigrette

Cook the green beans in boiling water for 4-5 minutes, until tender but still crisp, then drain and set aside.

Half-fill a bowl with water and stir in the lemon juice.

Remove the tough outer leaves from the artichokes by snapping them off at the base to reveal the paler inner part. Slice off the top third of the artichokes, cut the stems to about 3/4 inch and peel with a paring knife. Cut the artichokes in half lengthways and remove the hairy chokes. As each artichoke is prepared put it into the bowl of acidulated water to stop it from going brown.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet.

Drain the artichokes, pat dry and slice quite thinly, then add to the pan and cook until golden. Remove from the pan, drain on paper towels and set aside.

Put the salad leaves into a large wide bowl and arrange all the vegetables as you wish, ending with the flaked tuna, olives and halved eggs.

Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.

Ingredients for the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon clear honey
Ground black pepper

Instructions for the vinaigrette:
Mix together all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Version III: Nicoise Salad (taken from the Wall Street Journal’s, “The Simplest Salade Nicoise” by Chef Gunter Seeger of Gunter Seeger Restaurant in New York City)

8 new potatoes
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for seasoning
1 pound French green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup pitted Nicoise olives
4 eggs
8 ounces olive-oil-packed tuna, drained and flaked into large pieces
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and boil until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a large bowl and season with a generous pinch of salt.

Once potatoes are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them from pot, keeping water on the boil. Pat potatoes dry, then cut into bite size pieces and season with salt. Stir oil into tomatoes. Gently fold in potatoes to coat in tomato juices.

Add beans to boiling water and blanch until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer beans to a colander, keeping water on the boil. Rinse beans under cold water, then toss dry. Fold beans and olives into potato-tomato mixture.

Lower eggs into boiling water and boil until yokes are just fudge at center, 8 minutes. Remove eggs and run under cold water to halt cooking. Peel eggs.

Gently toss vegetables with lemon juice to taste. Add more oil or salt, as needed.

To serve, top vegetables with tuna. Halve eggs and sprinkle with salt. Nestle eggs into salad. Drizzle wit oil and serve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *