It hardly seems necessary to give you a recipe for a salad, but this combination of flavors is sodelicious, it would have felt unkind not to share. I came home from the market last week and immediately made this giant salad for myself. If you’re adverse to heat, feel free to deseed the jalapeno or leave it out entirely.
This recipe is not precise, but that’s purposeful. A watermelon salad for a lazy summer afternoon shouldn’t be too exacting, it should feel effortless and relaxed. Make up a bowl to share, or just for yourself and enjoy. This would also be nice dotted with a little bit of goat’s cheese, but I’ve kept this simple and vegan.
Watermelon Basil Salad with “Pickled” Onions and Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Add the watermelon, basil and blueberries to a wide, shallow bowl and toss gently with your hands to combine. Scatter the pickled onions over the top.
To make the dressing, whisk a tablespoon of olive oil with as much of the red wine vinegar used to pickle the onions as you like, plus the jalapeno. Drizzle over the salad. Add a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and enjoy.
Serves 2-3 normal people or one very greedy person.
If you’re feeling tomato-rich right now, and perhaps don’t know quite what to do with all your bounty, here are ten ideas to inject variety into your diet.
1. Gazpacho. This is one of the most beloved summer meals in my house, and it’s amazingly simple: Essentially it’s just cold, pureed tomatoes with a little seasoning. This basic recipe will get you started–feel free to amend as you like!
adapted from Gourmet magazine
2. Roasted tomato soup: Another incredibly simple recipe, this one is perfect for a rainy day.
Roasted Tomato Soup
3. Roasted tomato sauce: Use the recipe above, but instead of adding liquid to thin the sauce, simply push the mixture through a sieve. You can thin it with a little water or broth if the consistency is too thick for your liking.
4. Slow roasted tomatoes: These are perfect to add to salads, pasta, pizza, crostini … or try pureeing 3-4 with a batch of hummus to give it delicious flavor and richness. I also find myself snacking on these plain or with a little goat’s milk feta. Simply preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Halve as many plum or Roma tomatoes as you would like and place them, cut side up, on a roasting tray. Roast for 2-2.5 hours, or until the tomatoes are dried. These keep well in the refrigerator for a 2-3 weeks, drizzled with a little more olive oil.
5. Tomato pesto: In a food process, blend together until finely chopped the slow roasted tomatoes from the above recipe with a handful of pine nuts or almonds, a grating of a sharp, salty cheese (such as Parmesan or Sequatchie Cove’s Gruetli, to keep things local), a handful of fresh basil, a clove of garlic and a little olive oil. Toss with freshly cooked pasta.
6. Tomato juice: I absolutely love tomato juice for a refreshing summer beverage. Either use a juicer or finely puree the tomatoes and push the liquid through a sieve, pressing firmly on the solids to remove as much of the juice as possible. I like mine with a dash of hot pepper sauce and a sprinkling of celery salt and black pepper, but it’s delicious all by itself.
7. Tomato chutney: Tomato chutney is a great way to add delicious depth of flavor to foods. Spread on a toast or a sandwich, serve as a condiment with your favorite curry, or use it as the base for a salad dressing.
adapted from Jamie Oliver
8. Use them in a dessert. Tomatoes ARE fruit after all! There are lots of great recipes out there for sweet tomato tarts, tomato sorbets, sweet tomato breads and cakes. Flip through some of your grandmother’s cookbooks and give one a try.
9. Make Tomatoes Provencal: A lovely but simple way to enjoy tomatoes was introduced to me by a friend who had just moved back to the states after some time living in Aix-en-Provence (lucky!). Simply slice tomatoes and sprinkle them with homemade breadcrumbs, finely grated salty cheese and a bit of dried oregano. Drizzle lightly with oil and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until very soft. I love to eat this scattered with a few anchovy fillets.
10. And finally, save them for later. Imagine yourself, months from now when it’s cold and dreary outside, popping open a jar of home canned tomatoes to add brightness to a winter stew. Sounds nice, right? If you’re new to canning, check out this great tomato canning how-to over at Signal Mountain Farm’s blog. The step-by-step guide (with lots of pictures!) takes the intimidation factor out of this process. If canning isn’t an option for you and you have a little freezer space, consider peeling and freezing tomatoes whole in freezer safe bags, or freezing sauces, soups and purees in freezer-safe containers.
I think summer is my favorite season because of the vegetables. I never get tired of corn, tomatoes, summer squash, peppers or cucumbers. These simple corn fritters are the perfect way to highlight summer flavors and have the added benefit of being vegan. They can also easily be made gluten free by substituting rice or coconut flour, or your favorite flour alternative. I served them with chopped tomatoes, onions and some cilantro, but these would be delicious with a variety of toppings, from fried eggs at breakfast, to bacon jam and sauteed spinach or mashed avocado with a little sea salt and lime juice.
I brought these to a friend’s home on Sunday night and was told by one person that they reminded him of the fritters his Italian mother makes. If that doesn’t instill confidence in their deliciousness, I don’t know what will!
Summer Corn Fritters
In a pan over medium heat, fry the fritters in a thin layer of oil. To form the patties, drop scoops of the mixture, about 2 T. each, and flatten gently with a fork. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
Makes about 18 fritters.