This is the perfect time of year to go creative with your salad making recipes. So many fresh ingredients are available in summer that you will not get bored with the variety of salads to you can make. Below are a few I have made and you might like to give them a try.
Shrimp Cobb Salad
Mini corn muffins (see recipe) go well with this salad.
For 2 servings
For the shrimp
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the ranch dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
For the salad
1 slice cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup shredded carrots
8 grape tomatoes, halved
Half a cucumber, peeled and diced
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce, sliced
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (or any other cheese)
To prepare the shrimp:
Early in the day.
Peel and devein the shrimp. Place them in a skillet with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together.
Spread the shrimp in one layer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, just until pink. Refrigerate until time to make the salad.
To prepare the dressing:
In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.
Refrigerate until serving time.
To assemble the salad:
Arrange the lettuce in the bottom of two salad plates. In rows across the lettuce arrange the shrimp, carrots, tomatoes, egg and cucumber.
Crumble the blue cheese and bacon over the salad ingredients. Serve with the dressing.
Mini Corn Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (coarse or regular)
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 scallion, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 24 mini muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper liners.
Sift together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Combine the buttermilk, egg and oil in a big measuring cup. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full.
Bake until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
Mexican Corn Salad
Serve with fresh tomato salsa and homemade tortilla chips, recipes below.
8 ears corn, kernels stripped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Half of a large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 grape tomatoes, halved, optional garnish
In a serving bowl, place chopped celery, onion and peppers. Add the corn, salt, cumin and chili powder. Mix well. Stir in the mayonnaise.
Arrange the cut tomatoes around the top of the salad to garnish, if desired. Chill the salad until serving time.
Fresh Homemade Salsa
About 3 cups
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onion
2 medium chile peppers, such as poblano, New Mexico or Anaheim, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder or chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 tablespoons lime juice
Be very careful while handling chile peppers. You can, avoid touching the cut peppers with your hands if you use disposable gloves or hold the peppers with a plastic sandwich bag.) Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after handling and avoid touching your eyes for several hours.
You can make the salsa in one of two ways: finely chop the ingredients by hand or use a processor. I prefer to finely chop all the ingredients because I like a chunky, more rustic salsa that is easy to scoop on tortilla chips.
For the processor method:
Roughly chop the tomatoes, chilies and onions.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse only a few times-just enough to finely dice the ingredients but not enough to purée them.
Place the mixture in a serving bowl. Taste the salsa. If the chilies made the salsa too hot, add some more chopped tomato. Adjust for salt.
Let sit for an hour at room temperature for the flavors to combine. Serve with homemade tortilla chips.
Homemade Tortilla Chips
One package (8-10) large (12 inch) flour tortilla
Taco seasoning mix, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two rimmed baking sheets.
Brush the tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle each evenly with taco seasoning.
Cut the tortillas into 6-8 triangles and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake until golden brown and crisp, rotating the baking sheets once, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
In a small bowl, mix all together. Store in an airtight container.
Serve with pita chips and hummus.
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup (about 1 pound) chopped very ripe tomatoes
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped fresh mint, chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kalamata olives and Feta cheese for garnish
Romaine lettuce leaves for serving
Warm Pita bread or Pita chips, for serving
Rinse the bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve under cool running water until the water runs clear, then transfer the bulgur to a bowl.
In a heatproof bowl, mix the bulgur with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup boiling water.
Cover, and let stand until tender but slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.
Drain the bulgur to remove any liquid not absorbed.
In a large bowl, combine the scallions, parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, mint, remaining salt, pepper and cumin.
Add the soaked bulgur to the bowl and gently toss.
Add the olive oil and the lemon juice and lightly toss, adding more seasoning if necessary.
Set the tabbouleh aside for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Cover and chill overnight.
When ready to serve, garnish the salad with kalamata olives and feta cheese. Serve with romaine lettuce leaves and pita bread.
Baked Pita Chips
If you do not have access to Za’atar seasoning, you can make your own. See recipe below.
2 packages of whole wheat pita breads
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush each pita on both sides with olive oil.
Cut each in quarters and place on baking sheets. Sprinkle with Za’atar seasoning,
Bake until crispy and brown about 15 minutes.
Homemade Za’atar Seasoning
Makes 1/4 cup
Combine 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon sumac, 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight jar.