The Perfect Summer Salad for Your 4th of July Feast
Our favorite summer holiday is swiftly approaching and we’re busy prepping for the fun. For me, no matter what plans I have, two things always stay constant with my Fourth of July festivities fireworks and food. Since I have no business getting anywhere near the former, I like to turn my attention to the latter.
At the beginning of the year we invited all of you to join us in crafting your vision board. One of the focuses of mine, was to spend 2014 working on my craftiness and creativity. With that in mind this past Sunday, I headed to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, camera in hand, with two goals in mind. The first– to scout out some fresh ingredients for a summer salad recipe I could recreate for the Fourth of July weekend festivities. The second–to practice my photography skills with the DSLR camera I’ve been slowly learning to use.
As you head into this week, I also have two goals I’d like to pose to you. First, give this summer salad a go. Summer is the perfect time to shop for seasonal produce so make it your own by adding whatever fresh ingredients you find at your local market. Even if you aren’t a whiz in the kitchen, you’ll have a crowd-pleasing dish on your hands if you simply stick to great ingredients. Second, take a look back at your vision board and remind yourself of the goals you set for the year. We’re over half-way through 2014 so it’s a good time to check in.
Read on for a few tips to perfect your take on the perfect farmer’s market summer salad.
Start with an interesting mix of lettuces. Iceberg is definitely off the table (no nutritional value!) and romaine is so plain. I went with a garden varietal mix that had a good crisp mix of lettuces and leaves.
Add as much color as you can. I aim to have only one mix in of a certain color per salad. This gives your salad a variety of interesting flavors and makes for a presentation that can’t be beat. For this summer salad I added in fresh zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and basil.
Keep all ingredients about the same size. Whether you choose to chop, slice, or dice, aim to have all of your mix-ins in equal proportions and size. This will make sure that you get a taste of each with every bite. For this salad, I chose to slice my vegetables into very thin ribbon-like strips.
Add something juicy. For this salad I opted for ripe cherry tomatoes. You might also consider tossing in blackberries, beats, tangerine slices, or another fruit instead. The purpose here is to add another dimension of texture to your salad beyond the crispness of the lettuces and other vegetables.
Dress it lightly. When you use great ingredients, there is no need to coat your salad in a heavy dressing. It will simply drown out the natural flavors which should serve as the center-piece. I like to dress my salad with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a dash of olive oil, and a splash of red-wine vinegar.
The last touch to serving up a great salad is it’s presentation. Toss it in a big beautiful bowl that shows off your work. I like the idea of using a white serving dish to allow the colors of the salad to shine.
Hope you enjoy! Tell us how you like to serve up your summer salad. Share your special ingredients/recipes below or tweet us @SingleDiariesXO.