To me, the best part about summer is the ability to eat fresh, clean, unadulterated foods. Salads that take minimal prep. Baguettes that can ripped open and served with a big hunk of cheese and some sliced meats from the deli.
Nice meats of course. Not that packaged stuff in the refrigerator case. But the kind where you have an actual conversation with the meat-slicing guy, specifying thickness and weight and watching him shave off mounds of prosciutto, mortadella and speck just to your liking.
Don’t get me wrong, I do turn on the oven or stove at times. It’s a necessary evil in the summers when you’ve got cranky kids at home who are asking for pasta. Or you want to grill or boil that bright yellow corn you just picked up at the farmers’ market. Make bacon-studded caramel popcorn. Bake a vat of nachos. The essentials.
But I’m not an air conditioner type of girl, I’d rather throw open the windows and let in the breeze. Well, nudge the windows open to the full width allowed by our child protection guards (that would be three inches). And with New York temps often above 100 degrees with the humidity, I try to minimize the use of our range as much as possible. For obvious reasons, I’d like to avoid creating Indian sweat lodge conditions inside our living room.
So in light of our range-free zone, I wanted to share a few salads with you that have been making their way through the rotation. No-cook meals that take minutes to prepare and take advantage of the super fresh and ripe produce available at this time of year.
These salads are perfect for a quick lunch. If they do end up on the dinner table, they’re probably best as sides. On the occasion that I’ve served just salad, Rodney has claimed that I’ve put him on the starvation diet. At which point I tell him to go out and buy himself a burrito. Or make his own damn dinner. In the nicest way possible, of course. I know that he’s teasing. But seriously, I doubt anyone would starve after having been served a half block of Feta over a mountain of tomatoes. I don’t know about you, but I can stuff myself on a big salad any day.
And by the way, in light of these summer salad quick fixes, I’ve started a new page on my blog called “Instagrammies” (Instagram + Recipes). I was taking pics of quick-fix lunches and dinners and uploading to Instagram, but felt like it would be useful information to share. All of these meals were pulled together after a scrounge of the fridge, nothing was pre-planned or pre-prepared. And they’re not full recipes, just the title and you can figure out the rest. If you have any questions about the meals I post in that space, feel free to reach out.
So enjoy the last few weeks of summer heat-free cooking. It’ll be over before you know it.
1: Greens, cucumbers, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, basil and edible flowers, olive oil & vinegar, s&p, and burrata cheese
2: White beans, radishes, cucumbers, olive oil, big squeeze of lemon, and flaky sea salt
3: Baby heirloom tomatoes, French feta, sherry vinegar, olive oil, a heavy spray of Maldon salt & freshly-ground black pepper
4: Greens, vinaigrette, rotisserie chicken (dark meat please!), smoked ricotta salata and nectarines, s&p