Summer is in full swing! The weather has been quite spectacular thus far. Days have been in the low 80’s and there hasn’t been that many ridiculously oppressive weather days. You know the ones I am talking about… the ones with the three dreaded H’s – Hazy, Hot & Humid. Fingers crossed it continues like this and August doesn’t rear its ugly head with horrific weather. Nonetheless, pleasant weather or not, it is the summer and one thing is for sure, heavy meals are just not what you want to eat. I know I personally don’t like to eat anything too heavy during the summer months. So today, I am brining you two salads and a salsa that I recently made for my 4th of July BBQ that got rave reviews.
Up first a Greek Chickpea Salad. The most time consuming part of this salad was chopping Persian cucumbers and halving cherry tomatoes. Hence, it was a cinch. What was really nice about this salad is that the leftovers kept well for a few days. There are some salads that just turn into a soggy or sour mess, but, not this once. That could be because the vinaigrette is freshly made as opposed to using something from a bottle.
Next, a Cucumber Potato Salad. It might sound like an odd combination and what might sound even more odd is that soy sauce is added to the mayonnaise, but, thanks to the addition of freshly squeezed lemon & lime juice that soy flavor is really toned down and the two veggies together really complement each other. The red potatoes have a nice creamy texture to them and the cucumbers give the salad a nice crunch.
And finally… A Watermelon Salsa. Yes, a watermelon salsa. My friends more or less had a bewildered or apprehensive look on their face when I told them what the salsa was made of, but, once they tried it their eyes widened in delight. It was supposed to have mango, but, since I didn’t have any on hand I opted to add in an extra cup of diced watermelon. Also, I made this salsa the day before to make sure all of the flavors – cilantro, red onion, basil, lime, etc. – really blended together and then on the day of, before serving it, I transferred it to another bowl and drained some of the juices out of it so it wouldn’t be a watery mess.
So, what salads have you been enjoying or wanting to try this summer?
Greek Chickpea Salad
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk the vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallot, oregano. 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of the pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is emulsified and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use and any leftovers.
2 15 oz. cans of Chickpeas – drained and rinsed
2 cups Persian cucumber, chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with 2/3 cup of the basic vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper if necessary and refrigerate until serving.
Cucumber Potato Salad
2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice
1/2 tsp. lime zest plus 1 tbsp. fresh juice
1/2 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/3 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
1 tbsp. finely diced scallions
Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Drain and spread the potatoes on a baking sheet and allow them to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl mix together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, lemon zest, lemon juice, lime zest and lime juice, stir together. Add black pepper and the remaining salt. Add the cool potatoes along with the chives, celery, cucumber and shallots. Stir gently and refrigerate until serving, at least 20 minutes.
Recipe from Dale Talde
1 1/2 tsp. lime zest (about 1 lime)
1/4 fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 tablespoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper
3 cups seeded and finely diced watermelon*
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced*
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minces
1 small red onion, finely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Tortilla chips for serving
*Instead of using a mango I used 4 cups of watermelon
Stir together the lime zest, lime juice, sugar and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add the watermelon, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, onion and basil and toss gently. Chill the salsa until ready to serve. If you find the salsa is too watery before serving, drain some of the juices out. Serve with tortilla chips.
Recipe from Trisha Yearwood