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salad

Ramona King

spinach and strawberry salad

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3 Summer perfect salads that should be on your dinner (or picnic) table now

Chances are when you think Summer foods you picture a hot sizzling grill full with various meats and veggies. But, the warmer months are also a time step outside of your kitchen (and away from your grill) and make hearty salads that bring together the best the season has to offer.

These three salads are my favorites to make when the temperatures are brutal and I simply cannot imagine cooking anything. While they can be served as side dishes, they also hold their own as a full meal. Either way you choose to plate them up, make sure you pick the freshest ingredients you can, they make a world of difference!

Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Glaze 
Serves 1

Yes, you can prepare a "salad" with no salad greens! Assemble this simple salad on individual plates just before serving.

Ingredients
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
4 red or yellow grape tomatoes
4 strawberries, quartered
Balsamic glaze to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
On each salad plate, place a thin slice of goat cheese. On top of the goat cheese, scatter three or four red and yellow halved grape tomatoes. Next, add three or four hulled and quartered strawberries. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or a store-bought balsamic glaze.

Just like that, you have a classic and delicious salad, ready to serve to family and friends.


Caprese Pasta Salad 
Serves 4

Regular followers of my blog know how much I love basil. The combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil served as a Caprese salad is an all-time favorite. For this recipe, I incorporated the three main ingredients of a Caprese salad and mixed it with mini bow-tie pasta and dressed the mixture with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was perfect as is, but I can imagine it would be over the top with the addition of cooked diced chicken or grilled shrimp.

Ingredients
8 ounces mini bow tie (farfalle) pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
3/4 to 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, stacked together, rolled tightly and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Instructions
Cool the cooked and drained pasta.

In a large serving bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and dressing. Lightly toss in the basil leaves, salt and pepper.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. You can add a little additional dressing just before serving if needed. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.


Endive, Pear and Roquefort Cheese Salad (Courtesy of Ina Garten)
Serves 3

This salad has a variety of flavors and textures. Separately, you may not think you will enjoy them, but layered together on a plate with this delicious dressing, you will be a fan.

The endive is a little bitter, but the pear adds crunchiness and the dressing lends an excellent creaminess. The addition of the Roquefort crumbles and toasted walnuts elevates this salad to another level. This light salad would be a great addition to a summer luncheon menu.

Ingredients
4 to 6 heads of Belgian endive
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons high-quality olive oil
2 ripe Bartlett pears, halved, cored and sliced
1/4 pound good Roquefort cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves

Instructions
Trim off the core end of each head of the endive and slice it in half lengthwise. Cut out the cores, separate the leaves and place 1 1/2 to 2 heads of endive on each plate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Toss the pears with some vinaigrette and place on the endive leaves. Next, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the endive leaves to moisten them. Crumble the Roquefort onto the endive. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve at room temperature.

* Ina suggests caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs because of the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, she recommends you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean Grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.


Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.

 


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Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. You can contact her at fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.

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