Perhaps it's all the time I've been spending at the beach, or that I've been reading a wonderful new book on sea vegetables, or the fact that seaweed seems so cooling on a hot day, but I've been craving seaweed salad in a major way this summer. Recently at a Japanese restaurant I had a seaweed, or kaiso, salad garnished with deep-fried rice crackers, which offered a nice, crispy counterpoint to the tender seaweed. Making my own salad back at home, I came up with a simpler, and healthier, alternative: popped amaranth.
For many decades, iceberg lettuce was king of the American salad. Unless you ordered a fancy caesar salad with romaine, when you asked for salad, you got iceberg. It was salad. Then sometime around the early 80's, things started to change. The fresher and more unique flavors of other greens — like fresh spinach, mesclun, arugula, and radicchio — came into vogue, and iceberg became a joke, a sad symbol of homogeny and unsophistication. But things are changing yet again and today iceberg has made a small but noticeable comeback.
Now that summer is 100% here and the temperature is creeping ever upwards, I'm putting a lot of make-ahead pasta and grain salads on the menu. This colorful salad is an oldie but goodie, and a variation of another favorite of mine, my Roasted Beet and Barley Salad. I love the bright pops of golden beets and red onions mixed in with the barley and wilted chard stems. It's all tied together with a quick lemony dressing and topped with a sprinkle of salty feta.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially open season on corn and tomatoes. Ready... set.... GO! From now until the summer ends, our salad plates will be filled with various combinations of these two beloved vegetables: heirloom tomatoes drizzled with balsamic, cherry tomatoes and yellow corn tossed with herbs, corn salads with grilled chicken on the side, and anything else we can think of. To get you started, here are ten fresh salads with ripe tomatoes and sweet corn that will make you very happy it's summer.
Q: I usually eat a salad with a bit of protein each day. I like the idea of salads because I get 3-4 servings of veggies in one meal, but I'm growing a little tired or munching on spinach and greens each day. What are some recipes that contain lots of veggies, but aren't necessarily a traditional salad?
For the last couple weeks I've been sharing with you my weekly CSA haul and how I plan to cook my way through it. This week I was excited to get blueberries, a pint of green beans, and my first batch of corn... although, sadly, at least two of my corn ears were rotten.
Donut peaches from the Albany Farmers' Market in Albany, CA.
Back in the day, when my mom and I went to the grocery store we would buy strawberries and peaches and apricots. It never occurred to us that strawberries and peaches and apricots came in all sorts of different shapes, sizes and flavor profiles, and that each of these varieties had its own name. We weren't aware that we could be purchasing a Sun Crest Peach or that the Albion strawberries were in season but the Chandlers were coming soon.
But things are a little different these days, at least where I shop.
Q: I recently read an article lauding the benefits of kale and I'd like to start cooking with it more. What are your favorite recipes starring kale? I have already seen many variations of kale salad and kale chips, so I'm interested in dishes beyond those.