With so many fruits and veggies in season right now, there's a very strong chance your crisper drawer and fruit bowl are straight-up filled to the brim. Summer salads are a classic, endlessly delicious way to use your garden haul, but at this point in the summer, you're very likely in need of some new ways to serve them up. (Unless you like having the same 'ole bowl of greens night after night...)
Getting out of a salad rut requires two things: figuring out new ingredient combos and having a flavorful dressing to top them off with. Chef Nyesha Arrington delivers on both fronts in the latest episode of Cook With Us. In the video, she shows how to make a summer salad with seasonal all-stars including corn, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, and basil. As for the dressing? It's a basil and honey vinaigrette so sweet and tangy you'll be licking the bowl clean.
- Nyesha Arrington, LA-based chef and former contestant on Top Chef
Arrington starts by making the vinaigrette. "I want to allow the flavors to marry, and they can sit while we dice up our veggies for our salad," she explains. If you're able to, she recommends using local honey to make the vinaigrette because it infuses the essence—or terroir—native to the area you live in right into the dish. Her other pro tip for making this vinaigrette extra special is to blanch garlic (by putting it in boiling water) before blending it with the other ingredients. This, she says, ensures that it doesn't overpower the other ingredients with its potency. The smoother, mellower blanched garlic meshes perfectly with the sweet-savory summer produce, too.
After the vinaigrette is made—it just takes a couple of minutes—it is time to move on to prepping the salad. In the video, Arrington shows her tried-and-true method for cleanly slicing corn off the cob in the safest and most efficient way possible. When it comes to the peaches, she recommends using fruit that isn't super ripe yet. This will add more firmness than overripe fruit, and prevents the finished product from getting too drippy after it's dressed. Ditto the heirloom tomatoes. "You want to use tomatoes that aren't too soft. You want to use ones that have just a tiny bit of give, because ultimately it's the sweetness we're looking for," Arrington says.
Watch the episode to see it all come together and get the full recipe below. Summer salad boredom? Not even a thing.
Corn salad recipe with peaches, tomatoes, and basil vinaigrette
For the basil vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove, blanched
1/4 cup Banyuls vinegar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp water
Himalayan sea salt
1 cup spinach
2 cups basil leaves
For the corn salad:
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
2 ears of white corn, shucked
2 ripe large yellow peaches, diced
2 large avocados, diced
2 Tbsp shallots, minced
5 basil leaves, torn
Himalayan sea salt
1. For the dressing, place garlic, vinegar, grapeseed and sesame oils, honey, water, salt, and pepper in a blender. Blend on high until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Next, add in spinach, basil, and a couple of ice cubes. Place in an airtight container and set aside until you’re ready to serve.
2. For the salad, gather all ingredients together in a bowl. Toss gently, adding salt and pepper along the way. Dress evenly with basil vinaigrette and toss immediately before serving.
Get more summer recipe ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
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