Late Summer Farmers Market Salad

2 Sep

Every week, I make a lunch to bring for three of my four work days. The rules are that it must contain some kind of legume and at least one serving each of fruits and vegetables. The unofficial rule is that I should plan it around things I pick up from the farmers market. This week’s result was a surprising slam dunk. (Wait, is that sports terminology on my blog? I’m eternally sorry.) All of the veggies came from my friends at the Cherry Street Farmers Market.

Late Summer Farmers Market Salad

Serves 3.

Ingredients

  • ~1 pound of potatoes (the small red ones are ideal)
  • ~1 pound of green beans
  • 6 cups of arugula
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • Half bunch of basil
  • Half bunch of chives
  • ~ 1/2 cup dressing of choice (what I did is below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The night before, scrub and chop up the green beans and new potatoes. I like the pieces pretty small so that they cook more quickly. If all you have is one very small steamer basket, steam one vegetable at a time until they are softened but al dente (or whatever firmness you prefer). Refrigerate overnight in one container.

When you’re ready to assemble your salad, reheat the potatoes and green beans. It took one minute for me to warm up 1/3 in the microwave. Meanwhile, wash the arugula and tear into bite-size pieces. Wash the cherry tomatoes and place atop the arugula either whole or cut in half. Wash the basil and chives and chop or tear half onto the salad. When the green beans and potatoes are warmed, pour them on top. Dollop on your dressing, and sprinkle on the rest of the herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I usually concoct a sauce or dressing from scratch, but last night’s dinner (which I’ll share later this week) took a lot longer to cook than we hoped, so I was too tired. Instead, just before serving, I combined one tablespoon of tahini and two tablespoons of Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger dressing, plus a little drizzle of water to thin it out. The result was surprisingly tasty and a great complement to the other salad flavors.

Obviously, this salad welcomes substitutions, and whatever dressing you choose will transform the flavor. The type of basil (or other fresh herb) will have a huge impact, too. I ended up with Thai basil, which worked really well with the sesame flavors. My favorite topping, however, remains a nice, spicy peanut sauce thinned out with a little rice vinegar. I hope to have occasion to share that recipe in the coming weeks.

Oh, and obviously this recipe contains no fruit, but I did have some store-bought watermelon on the side.

Family-size? That’s barely more than two servings, fools.

What’s your favorite late-summer produce? I’m pretty obsessed with the bags of green beans and red potatoes several of the farmers sell, and the local grapes are pretty incredible. Who knew Okie vines could produce such wonderful flavors?

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2 Responses to “Late Summer Farmers Market Salad”

  1. Afton September 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Hey Brigid! Can I come work with you. I’d totally let you make lunch for me. 🙂

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