Summer is the perfect season for salads. The cool, crisp, and juicy nature of salads makes them so refreshing on hot, dry summer days. These recipes are a delightful way to change-up your everyday menu and make it 'just right' for summer.
The mild anise flavor of fennel is the perfect foil for the gentle sweetness of pears and the warm crunch of toasted nuts. This recipe was adapted from one found on About.com's food site.
Fennel, Pear and Toasted Walnut Salad
1 tablespoon fresh French tarragon leaves
1 fennel bulb
3 ripe pears
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup walnut halves or chunks, toasted*
3 tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Finely chop the French tarragon.
Trim the fennel, cut it in half lengthwise, and slice it very thinly.
Cut the pears in half, core them, and slice in thin vertical slices.
In a large bowl, sprinkle the pear and fennel slices with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and toss gently just to coat. The acid will help keep them from turning brown.
Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of nuts to the pre-heated, dry pan. Stir frequently until the nuts are golden brown and smell delicious. Immediately remove them from the pan so they don't continue to cook.
While the nuts are toasting, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, walnut oil, and sea salt. Don't forget to keep an eye on those nuts!
Arrange the sliced fennel and pears on plates, drizzle with the dressing, sprinkle with the tarragon and warm walnuts. Serve the salad immediately.
Serves: 4 - 6
This vegetarian salad is nutritious, delicious, and refreshingly easy to make.
Rinse the quinoa and cook it according to the package directions.
Spread the cooked quinoa out on a baking sheet to cool.
Clean and slice the scallions, including the tender portion of the green leaves.
Wash the lemon, zest and juice it. Use 1 teaspoon of the zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice for this salad. Reserve the remaining zest and juice for another use.
Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice and zest, olive oil.
Combine the cooked and cooled quinoa, sliced scallions, and dressing. Mix until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the chopped mint and nuts.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
This recipe is from Danielle Walker, the New York Times bestselling author of 'Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple'. Its combination of robust flavors and contrasting textures makes for a deliciously different salad.