It's July and everything is growing. Fresh vegetables are easy to find, cheap or free depending if you have a garden or know someone who does. Right now I have a bumper crop of kale, and a decent supply of lettuce and fresh herbs. Tomato plants are a riot of blossoms with friendly bees promising to do the work that needs to be done. Beans, peas and beets, planted late due to our chilly spring, are also jumping up out of the ground, playing catch-up with the kale.
I was lucky on Friday to receive a huge bag of leafy green lettuce and heart-breakingly fresh spinach from my friend Brenda at work. She's house-sitting at a home with what sounds like a half acre of lettuce, which she must harvest and distribute regularly. I am delighted to help by taking some (er lots!). Friday's bounty inspired a big, simple summer salad which I made last night for a pot luck supper. My recipe includes instructions for preparation and finishing just in time for the meal.
The dressing is made from a recipe passed along by another work friend, Stacy. I made the big batch and have been enjoying it as I need it, as it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
The amounts are mostly estimates. Make lots or a little, depending on who is eating, what you have on hand, and whether it's for a side dish or a main course. Fresh salad keeps overnight if you set it aside and dress only what you plan to serve right at the moment.
Big Summer Salad with Citrus Dressing
lots of green leafy lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
as much fresh spinach as you can get, leaves separated
chopped red onion
chopped yellow bell pepper
chopped orange bell pepper
sliced mini cucumber
chopped tomato (or halved cherry tomatoes)
fresh asparagus, lightly steamed and cut into chunksPut all of the vegetables in a big bowl. Make sure there's room in the bowl to toss the salad just before serving.
toasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
shaved fresh parmesan cheese
For a potluck, put these into small containers and nestle them on top of the vegetables in the big bowl.
1 Tbs lemon zest, finely grated
1 Tbs lime zest, finely grated
1 Tbs orange zest, finely grated
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
pulp from the fruit that you juiced
1 cup olive oil
1 mint leaf, finely chopped
1 basil leaf, finely chopped
1 Tbs honey
salt and pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker container. Shake well to emulsify before pouring. For the potluck salad, pour off a smaller container, seal with a lid and nestle it on top of the veggies. Put a big lid on the big bowl and go to the party. Bring salad lifters and a lovely salad serving bowl too.
Finishing – Just before supper is served, toss the toppings, dressing and salad together in the big bowl. Gently move it into the lovely serving bowl. I meant to take a picture of the finished salad, but it was too yummy and was eaten lickety crunchity split!
question: what's your favourite thing to put in or on a fresh salad?
mompoet - sharing what's in my own back yard and gratefully accepting all of summer's gifts