By Kim Dannies
July 25th, 2013
Crop harvests are in shorter supply this soggy summer. Think about supplementing salads with long-grain rice, couscous or fruit to make the green stuff stretch a bit. Magical mint is bountiful and enriches every summer drink and dish. To keep things summer-simple, I’ve been using Saratoga Olive Oil Company’s oils and balsamic vinegars to finish dishes. The variety and quality is astounding; blueberry balsamic is my favorite paired with their Hojiblanca Spanish olive oil. The stuff is so good I rarely make dressing anymore—just drizzle a bit of oil over fresh veggies, top with a fruity balsamic and toss!
Greek bean salad
Boil 8 cups of water; add 2 cups Italian/Israeli couscous and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse. Rinse 1 pound each of fresh green and yellow beans; slice beans into thirds. Place beans in a large glass microwave-safe bowl; add 1/2 cup water, seal and steam in micro on high for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, rough chop 2 cups pitted Kalamata olives, lots of fresh mint and chives, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary and 4 garlic cloves. Lightly crumble 2 cups feta or mild goat cheese and reserve.
In a jar with a fitted top combine 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Add the herbs and the garlic. Shake well, then salt and pepper to taste, mixing well again. To the bean bowl add olives and desired amount of couscous. Pour on the dressing, mixing well. Turn mixture into a serving bowl or platter, then top with crumbled cheese and more fresh mint. This salad is fabulous served with grilled lamb chops or fish. Serves 12.
Watermelon mint salad
Cut a small, seedless watermelon into bite-sized cubes and place on a platter layered with 5 handfuls of fresh greens. Ribbon cut 2 cups of fresh mint. (Simply roll leaves up like a cigar and thinly slice crosswise). Lightly toast 1 cup pistachio nuts in a nonstick pan for 2 minutes. Scatter the mint and pistachios over the watermelon. Scatter 1 cup crumbled feta. Drizzle a bit of your favorite olive oil all over, along with a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper. Serve cold.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. Kim@kimdannies.com.