Summer is salad season! The heat of summer is ideal for lighter meals including robust salads, like this salad of greens, some of them foraged. In honor of National Pollinator Week, the third week of June each year, we are sharing this recipe that uses honey. Thanks bees!!
There are many to choose from for your salads – depending if you garden or forage. Once the traditional Southwest summer monsoon rains start (usually after June 24) there will be even more greens to forage. (Yes, I am an optimist.)
Which Greens for Salad?
Amaranth greens are good, as are portulaca (discussed last week in Caldo de Verduras). You can purchase portulaca seeds to sow around the yard. I also use sweet potato leaves and okra leaves in moderation, because I still want my plants to produce the crop! A friend gifted me with some Malabar spinach (Basella), which comes from a perennial vine, and that was tasty too.
If your foraging is in the supermarket – New Zealand spinach (a relative of portulaca) can be used. If you are blending your greens, or serving company, I suggest limiting this salad to 2 cups of portulaca greens and the rest spinach and amaranth..
Green Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
8 cups loosely packed summer greens 1/2 cup thinly sliced I'itoi onions, shallots or scallions 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries 1/2 cup fresh blueberries 3 to 4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled 1/4 cup crumbled pecans
Honey Mustard Dressing
1/3 cup rice vinegar 2 Tablespoons honey 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Create your Salad
Toss together first 4 ingredients and top with 1/3 cup dressing.
Sprinkle with bacon and pecans – or your choice – see Options below.
Serve with remaining dressing on the side.
Vegetarian? You can skip the crumbled bacon and add more nuts or some crumbly cheese.
Cheeses. This salad is also quite tasty with crumbled feta cheese. Or use queso fresco, a crumbly farmer cheese with a milder flavor than feta. Skip the blue cheese (IMHO) because it’s strong flavor overwhelms the subtle blend of fruits and greens.
Tree nut allergy? Instead of pecans, use the cheeses discussed above.
Rice vinegar is a milder, less acidic vinegar that blends better taste-wise with the fruits in this salad. You can use apple cider vinegar if you wish, or even red wine vinegar. Fruit infused vinegar? Sure! This salad is lovely with a strawberry infused vinegar.
Common Acid Levels in Vinegars rice = 4 percent apple cider = 5 percent balsalmic = 6 percent malt = 6 percent red wine = 5 percent champagne = 5 percent white = 5 percent palm = 5 percent
Thanks for reading!
More cooking and using Southwestern luscious herbs in Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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