Summer Salads: The Lettuce is Coming

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This Weekend Herb Blogging is back home where it all started: with Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.

It's salad season, finally!  We don't eat salads all winter, but, come the spring….

I don't buy lettuce.  We eat seasonally and if it's not in season we don't (or at least rarely) eat it.  I'd like to say there is some mystical, esoteric, important reason for the way we eat, but it's more simple than that.  I think food in season tastes better.  I think food grown locally, organically by small farmers, or by me in my potager is healthier.  And I like the idea of pigging out on salads for 3 months followed by tomatoes, followed by peppers, followed by squashes…..

I may not buy lettuce but I do plant a lot of it.  I put my first lettuce 'sets' in about 3 weeks ago and they're ready to become salads.  Seeds of 4 or 5 different varieties will go in the ground next week and will be ready when this first batch is done.  We will eat salads as a main course 2 or 3 times a week, and as a side course most other nights until sometime in July when the last of it bolts.

I make them with grilled chicken or sausages or beef, and with potatoes, onions and shallots.  I use tinned tuna, pimiento from jars, anchovies, olives and eggs.  I bring in big baskets of herbs and maybe a flower or two.  If it's edible, chances are it will find its way into one of my salads.

I make my own dressing: creamy with yogurt; lemon; Balsamic, both white and red; some chock full of herbs, some simple.  That started out of necessity – when we first moved here I couldn't buy bottled salad dressing.  I still have a very small choice – and none of it as good as my own.  Besides, it only takes a minute.

Here, the first of what will likely be many, is one of my favorite salads.  It's based on a recipe I found in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook a few eons ago.
Oh yes – summer cooking is all done on the barbecue grill….by mon mari.  The potatoes are in our 'for grill use only' pan.


PotatoesSalad with Sausage, Potato and Chevre

4 sausages, any flavor, 10 oz (350 gr)
1 carton chevre (Chavrie in the U.S., Chavraux in Europe) 5 oz (150gr) 
2 medium potatoes
1 tbs olive oil
Lettuce
large handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbs fresh, snipped chives
Pepper

Vinaigrette

Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and coat with the olive oil.  Either cook in a pan on the barbecue if you are using one or put on a baking sheet in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.  Cook sausages – either on the barbecue grill or in a frying pan on the cook top.  Tear Sausagelettuce and put in a large bowl.  Snip chives.  Tear large basil leaves, leave small ones whole.  Add herbs to salad.  Add 1/4 of the vinaigrette and toss to combine using tongs (or salad utensils).  When sausages are done cut into bite size pieces and add to lettuce – they will be warm.  When potatoes are done add to salad – again, warm is okay – not necessary, but okay.  Add the chevre to the salad with a spoon – just in small chunks.  Add about 1/3rd more of the dressing and toss well.  As you toss the salad you will see the residual warmth from the sausage and potatoes combined with the dressing is causing the chevre to coat the lettuce leaves making a very creamy salad.  Add more dressing as you like, using all of it or reserving some to be added at table.  Fresh pepper is nice ….. serve.

SaladVinaigrette

1 clove garlic
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs wine vinegar – white tarragon is nice, as is white balsamic
1/2 cup olive oil – the good stuff for salads, rather than the every day cooking variety

Mince garlic. Combine garlic, lemon juice, mustard and vinegar in bowl and whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly so that the dressing emulsifies (gets thick).

Remember to check out Kalyn's Kitchen on Monday to see the complete round-up of what's cooking around the world in the world of herbs…. and plants

12 thoughts on “Summer Salads: The Lettuce is Coming”

  1. I am completely jealous that you are eating salads from your own garden already! Here in Rhode Island, my chives are up, and neighbors have asparagus, but not much else is garden-ready. Enjoy!

  2. I’m also jealous of your lettuce growing. Here in Utah it gets so hot so quickly that I kind of gave up on lettuce, although I’m growing some arugula and swiss chard on the west side of my house where it’s a lot shadier. The salad sounds wonderful. And I love your dressing with both lemon juice and vinegar, just brilliant!

  3. Yum. I almost have lettuce. It is really close as is the basil and chives.
    I agree that things taste better in season and eating that way seems more health wise.
    We won’t have new potatoes for quite some time.
    This sounds so good.

  4. I am impressed with your salad growing. My husband would drool over your salad. He perks up like a Labrador when I make salad with ham in it, but this, with sausage, he would kiss my feet. I’ll have to put this on the menu sometime soon.

  5. Marvelous!!!! I so agree with you about eating seasonally. And lettuce tastes fabulous when it’s freshly picked from the garden. And it’s so easy to grow, even in small pots. The only problem here in the super hot Central Valley of California is that the heat makes it very hard to grow lettuce during the summer. Sigh.

  6. Patience, Lydia…all good things (like fresh salad greens) in time
    Kalyn, no lettuce? That would be sad!- Bet your tomatoes are great, though.
    Sue, I just have a few small basil plants – the seeds haven’t started yet but soon.
    Thanks, CC
    Mary, that is a proper response from your husband….well done!
    Sra and Glenna, this is my favorite of all the salads – good reason…
    Freya, this is how I make fried potatoes healthy – sort of.
    Sher, I can grow lettuce until about July 1st, with the romaine going another week or two. Then it’s too hot here, also. But we pig out while we can.

  7. As with Lydia, I have only chives and a few herbs that can be harvested right now. Our rainy/cold season lasted until about 5 days ago! Today is was 89 in the shade. Jeez!
    I love this post Katie. We eat salads, the organic greens purchased, year-round. I could live on salads. And isn’t grilling just the best way to cook food?

  8. This was one of my top favorite salads from the Menu last summer! I think I made it at least twice. My kids just scarfed it down, so the second time I made it, I was pretty generous with the proportions!

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