ANKARA: One of the great things about summer is the abundant fresh veggies just begging to be eaten. The best way to honor them is a fresh summer salad, the perfect no-hassle dish for hot days.
The weather is getting hotter and hotter each day. Who’s going to want to stand in the sweltering kitchen in front of the hot stove? As much as I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, a quick summer salad is always delicious and usually requires minimum effort and skill. Here are some of the best salads to enjoy in the hot summer months:
This might be a no-brainer, but it is the most environmentally friendly, climate-conscious option. The ingredient list for this one couldn’t be simpler: Go to your local grocer or bazaar or any spot that provides goods from local farmers and see what they have there. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, young onions, green onions and a variety of peppers. Combine them to your heart’s desire, sprinkle some salt and a good dash of olive oil and enjoy! Enhancing these seasonal salads with grains or nuts can make for an interesting variation as well. For example, you can lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan and mix that in. My personal favorite is and will always be sunflower seeds.
The Turkish grain salad: Kısır
The best part of kısır is that you usually eat it using lettuce as an edible spoon and/or plate. Just scoop a few spoonfuls onto the lettuce leaf, close it up slightly and enjoy. The crunchy leaf combined with the tomato-paste-laced bulgur salad is an experience you’ll need to try.
Italian flair: Panzanella
When you have some leftover pieces of bread and you are not in the mood to make breadcrumbs for future cooking endeavors (and for those who refuse to waste them by throwing them away) there is this amazing Italian bread and tomato salad that might sound very simple but has become a favorite of mine. There are different takes on this recipe, as with all good recipes, so don’t be hesitant to change it up a bit as well.
- half a loaf of leftover bread
- 3-5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cucumbers
- 250 grams cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- a few leaves of basil
- salt, pepper
- mozzarella, optional
Cut the bread into small cubes and fry them in a pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil until they are all crunchy. Halve the tomatoes, or if they are rather big you can quarter them. Cut the cucumbers into cubes as well. Chop the garlic very finely and mix it with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss it a bit. Finally, sprinkle coarsely chopped basil leaves if you like.
The addition of mozzarella, cut or in ball shape, makes for a nice neutral color in the salad. The addition of onions, cut very finely, makes for another interesting note. Finally, you can prepare the bread cubes ahead of time and toss them in the freezer. Baking them in the oven makes this step especially practical.
Summer potato salad
Some think that salads won’t make you full unless you eat a lot, but you can convince any skeptic that this one won’t leave you hungry any time soon. Many people think that potato salads need mayo, but I beg to differ. You can add just a tiny bit to give it a bit of fat but skipping it entirely will keep your salad fresh much longer!
- 1 kilogram potatoes
- half a bunch of parsley
- half a bunch of dill
- green onions
- a cob of corn
- a few green peppers
- 1 small lemon
- pomegranate molasses (nar ekişi), optional
Cook the potatoes until soft and peel them. Cut into equal-sized cubes. Chop the other ingredients, remove the corn from the cob or use canned corn. Put it all into a bowl of your choosing and add the juice of one lemon. Sprinkle some salt and pomegranate molasses over it to finish.
Some meat and lots of greens: Purslane salad
This is the stuff sold at fancy restaurants with a hefty price tag to boot. Purslane on its own is delicious and sometimes I just eat it by smothering it in yogurt (I sometimes add a few crushed cloves of garlic to that yogurt – trust me you won’t regret it) but add a few more ingredients and you’ll have a salad that you can serve as a main dish without a second thought.
- 1 bundle of purslane
- 200-300 grams tomatoes
- 3-4 bell peppers
- 2 chicken breasts
- a can of corn, or one cob of corn
- juice of one lemon
- salt, pepper, olive oil, vegetable oil
First off, wash the purslane thoroughly and drain the excess water. Cut the leaves roughly. Do not throw the stems away! Instead, just cut them a bit more finely. They taste just as good as the leaves. Wash the tomatoes and chop them up depending on their size. I like to use cherry tomatoes and usually just halve them. Chop the bell peppers roughly as well and add the corn to the salad, too. Cut the chicken breast in thin strips, season with salt and pepper and saute them in a pan with a bit of vegetable oil. Once the chicken is cooked, season the salad with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Separate the salad into big bowls and top them off with the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining fat of the chicken pan onto the salad and serve!
Go nuts by adding other ingredients to this salad. These are the ones I usually have on hand.
You don’t need the chicken if you don’t feel like it, or you can change it up with some tuna or other meat for that matter.
Courtesy: Daily Sabah