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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice Salad -- Nutrish and Delish

For me, nothing says summer like an innovative, fresh, and easy-peasy salad that can be served with grilled fish, chicken, steaks, burgers, and even just by itself with some tuna or salmon or egg mixed in.

Today is a great day to eat 'al fresco' and enjoy the wonderful feel of a late setting sun. You may even be in a spot to catch the sight of that breathtaking summer solstice sunset. Soooo, you absolutely don't want to be just fussing in the kitchen -- especially if you're having guests and you, TOO, want to HANG OUT, relax, enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds and catch up for some pre-dinner drinks and gossip.

This salad is best made ahead of time and just forget about it until serving time. It's terrific. Make it TONIGHT!

Summer Solstice Salad (Fresh Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes)


Large bowl (at least 500 g) Fresh Green Beans -- normal, fine or haricot verts -- whatever you like -- trimmed and tailed

Fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes -- a punnet or about 300-400 g or 4 vines -- I prefer the vine tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or can use 1 Tablespoon frozen chopped garlic

1 medium red or yellow onion or 4 shallots -- peeled and sliced thin

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley

1 tsp fresh thyme

Olive oil -- the best you can afford or find

Red Wine Vinegar, the best you can afford or find

salt and pepper


1 punnet (300 g) fresh white mushrooms -- gently wiped clean and sliced

a handful of black olives


Briefly steam the green beans -- just a few seconds more than blanching. Drain (there should be scant water) or save the bean juice in ice cube trays to freeze and use in stews and sauces. Immediately after draining, rinse the beans briefly in very cold water. Put beans into your serving bowl or the bowl you will make and keep the salad in until time to transfer to a serving bowl.
Rinse and pat dry cherry tomatoes and you can either keep whole or cut in half. I prefer to cut in half to release some flavor in the marinaded mix. Pour into the green bean bowl.
Add garlic, onion, parsley, thyme, and other optional ingredients, if using.

Mix gently. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle about 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. This part of the 'dressing' will be up to you and your tastes.My husband likes about 1/2 cup olive oil to 1/4 cup vinegar, but I find this too heavy handed. I prefer a 'light touch' No matter how much oil and vinegar I use, I ALWAYS whisk my vinegar into my olive oil first and then pour over the salad. This seems to make a better salad!

Serve immediately or chill until needed.

This is SO good with some crusty bread, but I'm watching my carbs right now -- so NONE of that for me :(

ENJOY!! ;)

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