Summer Composed Salad

20180808_122241For my Potter Hill CSA recipe this week I made an updated version of a salad by a very similar name for our current season. The concept is the same: take a mix of cooked and raw vegetables, pick a protein, and serve them with a tangy dressing. Use whatever is currently at its peak and let it shine, which this week is new potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I included hard boiled eggs because I always have them around, but grilled chicken or canned tuna would be a great choice too.  I swapped capers for dill in the dressing this time because herbs are jumping out of my produce drawer right now, and another soft herb like basil or parsley would also work great.

Tomato season is hitting fast and hard, and I could not be happier. My forever favorite tomato meal is lightly toasted bread with mayo, thick tomato slices, salt, and pepper. A couple years ago I wrote about my favorite things to eat in August, and I still stand heartily by that list. I made this tomato tart this week which had great contrast and intensity from fresh tomatoes and a sun dried tomato spread (I used savory instead of the thyme and feta instead of goat cheese to use up what I had). I also have my eye on this harissa eggplant, eggplant tortas, and a big fat BLT later this week.

Summer Composed Salad

This is incredibly easy to scale. I plan on these quantities per person: ¼ lb potatoes, 1 small tomato, ½ cucumber (assuming a smaller cucumber – like a pickling cuke), 1 egg. I would also use blanched green beans, lettuce leaves (separate them from the head but don’t slice them), radishes, or salad turnips.

Serves 6

  • 1 ½ lbs new potatoes
  • 2 lbs tomatoes
  • 3 small cucumbers
  • 6 eggs

Dill Dijon Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used a mix of whole grain and smooth – whatever you have works)
  • Salt and pepper

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil. Lower the eggs in with a slotted spoon and cook for 12 minutes for fully set yolks. While the eggs are cooking put a dozen ice cubes in a bowl and cover with water. When the eggs are done transfer them to the ice water to cool while you prep everything else.

Wash your potatoes thoroughly (I let them sit in a bowl of water for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse). Cut any large potatoes in half so that they are all roughly the same size. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover them with water that comes about an inch higher than the potatoes. Add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool.

In a jar or small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and shake/whisk until uniform. If you like a thicker dressing, add some more Dijon.

Peel and halve the eggs, quarter the potatoes, slice the tomatoes and cucumbers. Arrange on a large platter with the dressing (or give everyone a little bowl for their own dressing if you have a dishwasher and can stomach such dish excess).

Advertisements

Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing

Vegetal Matters - Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper DressingThere was snow on the ground when I got up this morning. So, I realize I’m jumping the gun with all these spring ingredients, but it still feels like they are a long way off from the farmer’s market and I can’t wait any longer. This salad looks fussy, but it is far from it. It comes together quickly, and is infinitely adaptable. The dressing is assertive (and certainly not for the caper haters), but deliciously bright. Use whatever vegetables you have around, cooked or raw. Chicken or fish could be added (or omit the egg for a vegan meal). If you have any fancy or flavored salt around, this is a great time to use it. I had some lemon salt I made (so easy!), but a big flake or sea salt would shine here. I love the look and process of eating a composed salad, but you could certainly toss it too. Is that enough options? Get to salad making!

Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing

Salad inspired by Alana Chernila, and dressing adapted from Feed Me Pheobe.

While I tried to be specific, don’t get crazy with exact quantities here. Use what you have and what you like. This would easily double or triple for a crowd (just use multiple platters).

Serves 4

  • 1 lb red skinned potatoes
  • 6 radishes (about ⅓ lb)
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 2 handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes (¼ lb)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ lb snap peas or green beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whiz the ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and capers in a food processor or blender, or mince the capers and whisk all ingredients together.

Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. When they are cooled a bit, peel and quarter.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut potatoes into 1” pieces. Toss in olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, trim the ends off the asparagus, cut the tomatoes in half, cut the radishes in quarters, and look at the pretty snap peas. On a large platter arrange the tomatoes, radishes, snap peas, and hard boiled eggs. Season them all with a little salt and pepper. Fill a small bowl with the dressing and place in the center.

After 20 minutes take the potatoes out of the oven and move them over to one half of the baking sheet. On the other half put the asparagus and toss in the oil that remains on the pan (or add a teaspoon more if needed). Return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes. When they are all done let them cool slightly, then add to the platter with the rest of the salad. Dip, and enjoy!