Jewel-Toned Summer’s End Salad
When you read this my mom and sister will have just flown in from Wisconsin to stay with us for five nights. Hard to believe it’s been nearly ten months since the last time we saw each other. Homesickness will well up, but we’ll pick up right where we left off as we always do, and always will.
There will be trips to the city to window-shop, and trips to the country to soak in the history. We’ll find plenty to do in the kitchen, with requests taken for a homemade bread, apple-y dessert, Tandoori chicken, and the traditional Friday night pizza. Board games, movies with popcorn, planting fall flowers, weaving ridiculous stories, and sharing a ton of laughs over great wine are a must. And there has to be at least one morning at our favorite cafe/bookstore to caffeinate and sniff the pages before a leisurely walk along the Atlantic.
This visit we’re finally getting out to Raleigh. I already have a long list of local goodies to buy from the farmer’s market: apples for that dessert, eggplant and okra for our Indian feast, cherry tomatoes and fresh feta for pizza, salad-y and more sturdy greens because we always need these, pears and persimmons just because. Then it’s off to explore downtown, and over to a historic park to hike a while before we settle on a grassy spot for our picnic lunch. If they’re game for more, sampling a flight at a brewery in Wake Forest, or snagging a growler of western North Carolina hard cider for tasting at home. It should be a good time!
And with luck, we can find the season’s last corn and stone fruit at a market stalls to make what might be my favorite salad of the year.
Sweet white corn kernels, juicy stone fruits, peppery arugula, impeccably fresh and milky mozzarella (this one’s homemade!), and a generous showering of basil. It’s clean and light, but heavy on flavor. Even the colors smack you in the face. (And of course, with nature’s colors representing, nutrients are in rich supply.)
Effortlessness is a core element here. Season as you plate with good quality olive oil, a few squidges of lemon juice, crunchy sea salt and cracked black pepper. Haphazard or meticulous — you decide. Just get it while the produce is still around, which certainly won’t be for much longer.
So here’s to your good side, Summer, and to a memorable visit with my mom and sister!
I hope all of you enjoy a wonderful weekend of great food and laughter with your loved ones as well.
(Oh, and save the cobs for tomorrow’s quick post: Fresh Corn [Cob] Stock!)
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Tell me… What food will you miss most from summer?
- 2 large handfuls (about 4 ounces) arugula or other tender leafy greens, rinsed and dried well
- About 1 Tbsp best quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more to finish (see HGN Notes)
- About 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to finish (see HGN Notes)
- Good quality sea salt (see HGN Notes)
- 1 large red plum, stoned and thinly sliced
- 1 large peach, stoned and thinly sliced
- 2 ears white sweet corn, kernels removed (cobs reserved)
- 1/2 of an 8-ounce ball mozzarella (if making 2 entree salads) OR 1 whole 8-ounce ball (if making 4 side salads), sliced thinly (see HGN Notes)
- A small handful of fresh basil leaves, picked from stems
- Put a handful of arugula onto two (entree) or four (side) plates. Drizzle the greens lightly with olive oil, squeeze on some lemon juice, and very lightly season with salt.
- Divide the plum and peach slices, corn kernels, and mozzarella slices between each of the plates, arranging in whatever manner pleases you most.
- Once again, splash over a bit of lemon juice, drizzle with olive oil, and a small hit of salt to accentuate the flavors. Finish with a few grinds from the pepper mill, and a scattering of basil leaves. Serve at once, with plenty of crusty bread, if desired.
If you like, save 26 calories and 4 grams of fat (2 g sat fat) + add 2 grams protein to each salad by switching from whole milk mozzarella to part-skim mozzarella.
+ I used black sea salt my husband sent me from the Dead Sea, which is incredible, but any good quality, crunchy sea salt will do perfectly. Try fleur de sel, Maldon or grey salt.
+ Swap in your favorite stone fruits for the plum and/or peach, such as nectarine, apricot, etc.
+ No white sweet corn? Yellow or bi-color will be just fine!
+ Use fresh mint, tarragon or dill in place of the fresh basil.
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