We asked the FOFoodie Gurus for their favorite summer salads and received hundreds of ideas for out-of-the-ordinary greens. After much debating, recipe-testing and tasting, we narrowed it down to these four favorites. Add them to your recipe repertoire, ASAP.
1. Watermelon-feta-mint salad
FOF Amy Mayer: “This salad is refreshing, healthy and uses the ingredients I most associate with summer: watermelon and mint! The best part — no measuring necessary — add as much as you like of everything.”
Watermelon (cut into bite sized chunks)
Mint leaves (julienned)
Feta (cut into cubes or chunks)
Extra virgin olive oil
Mix together watermelon, arugula, mint leaves and feta. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
2. Grilled peach and arugula salad
FOF Cathy Barrow (of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen blog): “There’s sweet fruit, salty pancetta and the crisp bite of arugula. It’s refreshing and complex — fancy and easy to pull together all at the same time.”
2 freestone peaches, quartered and pitted
8 thin slices of pancetta
8 oz baby arugula
Salt and pepper
Wrap the pancetta slices around each quarter of peach and secure with a toothpick or skewer. Grill the peaches for about 2-3 minutes per side, until the pancetta crisps. Divide the arugula between two chilled plates. Set four peaches on each plate. Scatter chiffonade basil leaves over the peaches.
Drizzle with honey, balsamic and walnut oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Fennel and orange salad
FOF Susan Van Tol: “It’s simple, stunning and satisfying — the way all summer salad recipes should be. It’s flavorful, elegant and when I serve it, I receive rave reviews.”
1 large fennel bulb
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar
Slice fennel bulb and oranges thinly. Mix together or arrange artfully on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
4. Rosemary sweet potato salad
FOF Karen McKinney: “I first tasted this salad at the University of Tampa’s Panache Restaurant and fell in love with the great flavors. The chef was nice enough to share it with me. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, do not use dried but, feel free to substitute fresh basil or mint.”
5 large sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups diced celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
For the honey rosemary vinaigrette:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher or sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes with the skins on until just done (don’t overcook or the cubes will be mushy) about 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate potatoes until cooled.
Mix honey, vinegar, rosemary and garlic in a blender until smooth. With blender running on low speed, add olive oil very slowly until dressing is thick and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, gently mix sweet potatoes, green onions, celery and vinaigrette until evenly covered. Chill until serving time. The flavors intensify if the salad sits out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Photographs by Katherine Miles Jones for FabOverFifty