At this time of year, as the garden warms up, and the early plantings begin to bolt we’re looking for summer salad recipes. Once the lettuce begins to bolt the lettuce grows bitter, so try to harvest it as soon as you see the stalks on your lettuce begin to stretch taller. Lettuce that is snapped off from the root, may regrow again from the same root, giving you a second or even third harvest.
Mid July is a good time to plant some fresh lettuce seed for a new harvest of green salad fixings in mid to late August. Since lettuce is resistant to frost, don’t be afraid to plant new lettuce periodically over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Check out this post on planting a mesclun salad garden and so you can harvest more lettuce from a small space.
Tired of Caesar salad and Chef salad? A compendium of summer salad recipes should include a variety of green lettuce salads. Try this flavorful dressing, made with fresh herbs, over a bed of lettuce. The dressing in this recipe is also good on Kale salad, cabbage salad, and Israeli salad. So go ahead and double the dressing recipe, and save it for later in the fridge. The dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week.
Lemon-dill garlic scape dressing:
5 garlic scapes
8 leaf fonds of young dill
1 stalk of lemon balm, leaves only
Zest and juice of 2 organic lemons
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. maple syrup or local honey
Prepare the dressing:
Wash the garlic scapes, dill, and lemon balm and blot dry with a clean cotton towel. Finely chop garlic scapes, dill leaves, and lemon balm leaves. Place all ingredients in a blender jar and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust flavours by adding more dill or more maple syrup as needed. Blend again. Transfer into a wide mouth jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 1 cup of dressing, 250 ml.
6 cups of lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
A handful of parsley, chopped finely
2 tbsp. chives, chopped
½ cup Garlic – olive oil croutons (see below)
¼ cup Goat cheese, grated
Harvest lettuce, rinse well. Discard any damaged leaves. Drain lettuce well after washing. Blot with a towel or put it through a salad spinner if it seems too wet.
I don’t own a salad spinner. Instead, I like to put washed greens into a cotton pillow case and step outside. Then swing the pillow case 8 to 12 times over my head. The water sprays everything so make sure you won’t damage anything before you swing. The dogs run and hide in their dog house when I do this. If you have kids, give them this job and they’ll be delighted. The greens are nice and dry after this treatment and ready to use immediately.
Prepare the salad:
Tear prepared lettuce into bite size pieces. Add chives and goat cheese and toss together. Just before serving add croutons and dressing. Toss again. Serve.
Yield: Serves 6
This salad makes a complete lunch. Use it as a side for dinner or serve it with a piece of grilled chicken sliced across the top, and pretend you’re at a fancy restaurant.
How to make croutons
You don’t need to buy croutons in a box, and have to suffer with inferior or questionable ingredients. You can make croutons at home that are cheaper and healthier than store bought.
Crush 1 garlic clove and mix it with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Pour the prepared olive oil over cubed bread and mix gently to coat all sides of the bread. Try not to crumble the cubed bread. Spread over a greased baking sheet, in a single layer.
Bake at 300F for 20 minutes or until bread cubes are hard, crisp, and lightly golden. Allow the croutons to cool completely before serving with the salad.
You can make croutons ahead of time but they taste the best if they are used within a week of baking.
Try this crouton recipe for a more savory, herbed crouton.
Other Summer Salad Recipes you might like: