Chances are that you’re hosting a get-together or invited to a get-together this holiday weekend (or perhaps both? you party animal!). If this is the case, then you’ll want to make or bring something summery, outdoorsy, and tasty, but the thought of throwing together another potato salad makes you sleepy. You could go all food magazine on the situation and attempt a freekah-chard-za’tar concoction you read about. Or…you could make your life super easy and follow this formula:
1 Vegetable + A Flurry of Fresh Herbs + Tasty Vinaigrette = Summer Holiday Side Dish
Pictured above are two examples: The first was a bowl of fresh peas from my CSA that I barely simmered in water until they turned bright green, and then drizzled with some very good quality olive oil, generous handfuls of chopped dill and parsley, and a sprinkling of sherry vinegar (you can also just squeeze on some lemon juice). I also added pats of butter while the peas were still warm and some flaky salt. That’s it.
For the second example: I had a bunch of striped beets that were too pretty to cook (and it was also too hot to turn on the oven), so with my trusty Benriner (Japanese mandoline), I shredded them into slender matchsticks and then dressed with lots of parsley and a vinaigrette (made in ajar with 2 parts grapeseed oil, 1 part white wine vinegar or white balsamic, teaspoon of dijon, 1 finely chopped shallot, drizzle of honey, salt and pepper). And again some flaky salt on top because this is the season to use up that fancy-pants fleur de sel on all your CSA and farmer’s market vegetables–it adds a subtle crunch and brings out all of the ingredient’s natural flavor.
Not only do both salads work well on their own, you can toss them with soba noodles or grains and have a more substantial entree for the non meat-eater guest. And of course play with the herbs–mint, basil, chervil are all wonderful on a simple summer vegetable dish. HAPPY HOLIDAY!!