It’s not exactly summer in my neck of the woods. Heck, it doesn’t even feel like spring. Today’s forecast calls for a mix of rain and snow with temperatures barely above freezing. (Don’t ask about the windchills.) I don’t know if Mother Nature can read but the calendar says it’s April 28th.
Regardless of what it might look like out my window, I realize that in other parts of the world the mercury has already hit 100 degrees. And believe me I am not letting this batch of nasty weather stop me from looking ahead to the summer months. I can’t wait to turn my oven OFF and stick with lighter menus that don’t require a lot of cooking.
During the summer months I try to prepare a hearty salad at least once a week and make that our main entrée. The recipes for two of my favorite summer salads are listed below. The first is my all time favorite–a classic Nicoise salad, which looks a lot more complicated to make than it really is. I love it because you get all the food groups on one plate.
The second salad is one that I order from my favorite restaurant each time I visit. I never tire of eating it. The recipe is actually from the restaurant’s chef and combines two ingredients that I would have never considered placing in the same salad—–steak and artichokes. They mix beautifully and the salad is superb. What’s more, it’s a breeze to make.
Ingredients for the Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A pinch sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions for Dressing:
Mix lemon juice, vinegar, and Dijon mustard together. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar
Ingredients for Salad:
4 oz. prepackaged Spring Mix
2 oz cooked and chilled Green Beans
1 Roma tomato quartered
1 cup diced cooked potato
5-6 Nicoise Olives
1 tablespoon Capers
1 hard boiled eggs quartered
1 8oz. portion of Ahi Tuna Seared Rare
Toss spring mix with dressing and place the remainder of the ingredients neatly on top.
STEAK AND ARTICHOKE SALAD
1 grilled Steak, approx. 16oz., sliced thin (this is a great dish to use leftover steak)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups spring mix lettuce
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tomato, quartered
1 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
1 cup roasted red pepper, sliced
1/2 cup goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper
In a bowl whisk together vinegar, sugar and Italian Seasoning. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide lettuce between 4 plates or place on one large platter.
Top with sliced steak, artichoke hearts, tomato, onion and red pepper.
Drizzle with dressing. Top with goat cheese.