While the official, official start of summer is still 2 days away, I say let's buck the calendar and call it here... as of yesterday. The Wednesday farmer's market at opening yesterday morning was literally bustling with the warm summer energy of people ready for long days, heirloom tomatoes, obscure berries, and generally cool food. If you're not familiar with the Santa Monica Wednesday market, it's practically a living legend. Chefs from all over southern California descend on the 4 blocks lined with farmer stalls to fill their cold rooms with local produce to last the week. And lucky for me, our office moved 1 block from the market back in January so now I get to join the early risers with my reusable baggu bags (which are awesome, you should get some, they fit in your purse!), for first pick of the week's haul. I seriously NEVER get tired of it. Though returning to the office, with produce coming out my ears is admittedly less than ideal. Really I want to come home and play with my food.
Anyway. Summer. It is here and it inspired my salads last night. Both would be excellent staples for backyard dinners and BBQ potlucks.
Cucumber salad with yogurt and dill (for 2)
*This was directly stolen/inspired by a salad served for the post-wedding brunch at Farm255 in Athens last sunday.
a mix of 5 organic cucumbers - i used japanese (from fairview gardens at the market) and pickling (from my yard)
super thinly sliced red onion about the size of a lemon
greek style yogurt
Using a mandolin (or if you don't have one, a sharp knife) thinly slice cukes into rounds. don't go for paper thin. you want them to stay crisp in the dressing. Do the same for the onion. If you're using a young onion, you will need more since the flavor is milder. For a normal red onion, use less. Though the amount really depends on taste.
Combine with dill in a large bowl for mixing. On the side, mix 1/2 c yogurt (i think you could use sour cream too, which might have been what they did at the restaurant since theirs was ultimately creamier) with a lil' bit of olive oil, juice from a lime, salt, and pepper. Dump onto cukes. Mix. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Roasted heirloom potato salad for summer
*This one I made up on the fly so amounts are kind of loose. Go by feel.
mixed bag of baby potatoes (purple, red, yellow) Washed and par-boiled, to speed the roasting.
1 cloved smashed garlic
s & p
Halve potatoes. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. (Reserve dirty bowl for tossing the whole salad). Roast on a foil lined cookie sheet at 400 for ~20 mins. But check on them often since they are little and partially cooked already.
salt and pepper
Trim and blanch green beans 1 minute. Make sure to have your ice bath ready so they stay crunchy in the final salad. Cut into halves or thirds so the beans are slightly larger than bite size. Halve the tomatoes. Thinly slice the basil.
Toss everything (in the original bowl you tossed the potatoes so you get any leftover garlic and olive oil) together with a little salt and pepper and maybe a touch more olive oil to taste.
YUM. I was licking my plate.