Simplicity is what we love most about summer. Everything gets pared down to the bare essentials so you can get right to the business of kicking back. In the spirit of celebrating summer and keeping things simple, we're sharing a template for our T&W Summer House Salad. Who knew you could get so excited about lettuce? But with the range of colors and flavors available at the summer markets, you really can.
When we're not making a composed salad recipe, this is our go-to bowl of greens (and reds and purples). We tear everything to pieces and scatter in a few leaves of basil, cilantro and mint. The bright fresh flavor will pull you out of any salad rut you might have been stuck in. Every bite has it's own unique flavor, traversing the range of buttery, peppery, succulent, refreshing and herbal.
Instead of masking this lovely combination behind a liquid scene-stealer, we prefer to layer it with a deconstructed dressing so that each bite is a surprise. Don't mix anything up beforehand. Start by drizzling on a bit of vinegar - we prefer sherry or champagne. This is also the time to pull out your absolutely best tasting olive oil or to splurge on one that is robust and fruity. We love using something that looks like liquid gold and tastes like fresh, ripe olives.
To gild the lily, dip into a jar of honey and run some thin ribbons all over the greens. This week we are using a lavender honey from a local beekeeper for an added layer of flavor. Finish it off with a generous sprinkling of coarse sea salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Give the greens just a gentle toss if needed so that every taste spreads just a little farther than where it landed. A little crunch of salt in one bite might be followed by a pucker of vinegar and end with a little smear of sweet honey. In which case, you can finish by licking your lips. Yum.
T&W Summer House salad
(Serves 4 as a base for main course, or 8-10 as a side salad)
We try to keep our salad spinner full of this mix all the time. At the least, it's a ready-to-go side salad. By adding a few generous crumbles of chevre and fresh bread, it becomes a simple lunch. It's an excellent base for a simple dinner topped off with our recipe for Smoked Salmon Tartines or something quick off the grill.
1 head Little Gem lettuce
1 head butter lettuce
1 head radicchio lettuce
1 head frisée lettuce
approx. 20 basil leaves
approx. 15 cilantro leaves
approx. 10 mint leaves
1/4 cup champagne or sherry vinegar
1/2 cup high quality olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
* We encourage you to use what we’ve listed here, or try other greens available to you such as arugula, lolla rossa, baby bok choy, or mizuna. Taste each of them so that you have a balance of assertive peppery flavors with subtle, buttery ones. Same goes for the herbs. We’ve found that parsley, dill, chervil and chives taste great here too.
Wash and spin dry all the lettuces and herbs. Place in a large serving bowl.
Just before serving, begin to dress the salad by drizzling vinegar evenly over the greens. Follow with olive oil. Use a honey dipper or fork to drizzle ribbons of honey all over the greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Give the greens a gentle toss if needed so that every taste spreads just a little farther than where it landed. Layering each dressing ingredient onto the greens without mixing them beforehand provides a more varied and interesting set of flavors in your salad.
Note: Use these dressing measurements as a guideline. Add more or less than suggested according to your personal preference.