Summer Salad with Tapenade

We’ve officially entered my favorite month of the year. And I do mean entered, because my favorite month is not August, but mid-August through mid-September. In my mind the best produce isn’t limited to calendar months, but this last third of summer. While we’re still enjoying cucumbers, zucchini, and green beans, tomatoes start to come in hot, as well as eggplant, peppers. Sweet corn kernels burst off the cob, melons are ripe, berries are still in full swing. Greens love the relief from the hot weather, and then we start to see some fall veg come in. There really aren’t enough meals in the day to eat all the goodness.

This salad is a bounty in a bowl. Take whatever veg you have and toss it with a bold tapenade for an easy dinner. The mix of cooked and raw vegetables makes for an interesting salad, and it’s vegan if you leave out the anchovy. Add in some additional protein like beans, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked meats if you want to bulk it up.

My full share this week was potatoes, husk cherries, tomatoes, scallions, fresh onions, hole-y arugula, carrots, holy basil, zucchini, shishito peppers, melon, and a few tiny eggplant. For lunch one day I made egg salad sandwiches with arugula and tomato. Half a giant zucchini, a tomato, and some onions went into a savory galette inspired by this one and this one, served with blistered shishitos on the side. My remaining zucchini and scallions are going alongside this Yakitori-style salmon (NYTimes link). Holy basil is going into Pad Kra Pao. I highly recommend embracing the slightly lower temps to turn on your oven for roasted eggplant and cherry tomato pizza or Athena bowls.

Summer Salad with Tapenade

Serves 4

Adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

  • 1 medium eggplant (or about 6 fairytale)
  • 1 medium zucchini (or half a large one)
  • 1 lb new potatoes
  • ½ lb green beans
  • 1 bunch of arugula (about 4 oz), chopped
  • 1 large tomato
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more fore drizzling
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • ½ cup chopped parsley (a large handful)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 anchovy
  • Juice of ½ a lemon, plus extra wedges for serving
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Chop the eggplant and zucchini into 1/2 inch cubes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until completely soft and browned at the edges. Let cool.

While the eggplant and zucchini are roasting, place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water (we’re going to cook the beans with the potatoes in the came pot, so make sure it is big enough for both). My potatoes were quite varied sizes, so if that’t the case cut the larger ones in half or quarters so they match. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce all the way through. In the last minute of cooking put the green beans in the pot. Drain both and let cool.

Chop the tomatoes and halve the cherry tomatoes. Combine them in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, start the motor and drop the garlic clove in from the top. When you can’t hear it bouncing around anymore stop the machine and wipe down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add in the olives, capers, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, juice from 1/2 a lemon, and anchovy fillet. Pulse a couple times, then scrape down the sides. Pulse again until the olives are uniformly chopped but not pureed.

Build salads with a base of arugula, topped with potatoes, roasted eggplant and zucchini, green beans, a few scoops of tomatoes, and a dollop of tapenade. Finish with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

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