The recipe's name was "Mid-Summer Salad", but who says it can't make a good meal in early summer as well?
As I prepared this recipe for a June evening meal, I couldn't help but wish I were doing so on a mid-summer date a few weeks hence. That would mean that our expected baby grandson would be very near his arrival time. Wa-hoo! We can hardly wait! Now that will be a cause for celebration! But back to "Mid-Summer Salad."
"Mid-Summer" in the recipe name perhaps refers to the fact that some of the ingredients, such as the tomatoes and cucumber, would be reaching their peak in the garden in mid-summer and hence would be available for salad-making about that time.
Regardless of the trivia about the name, Mid-Summer Salad was memorable and delicious. (Thanks to my booklet, Celebrating a Healthy Harvest, from the Chickasaw Nutrition Services, which contained the recipe.) In preparing it I learned two things:
* Green onions, fresh from our garden (they're really just the tops of regular onions), add an incredible zest to a salad mixture. In this recipe they're part of the dressing. They really make this salad sing. The one-tablespoon mustard added to the dressing adds to the flavor as well.
* Keep the cut-up avocado in a salad from turning brown by dumping the seed right into the salad mixture. The presence of the seed keeps the avocado green. (I learned this on Sunday from Ishmael's mom, who attended--and brought homemade Guacamole for--our backyard fiesta. I wrote about this in my Monday blog about my "new-beginnings" Peach Cobbler. As I scooped out my Guacamole helping onto my plate, a medium-sized seed plopped right onto the plate with it. Margarita told me she puts seeds in all her guacamole. Indeed it was the brightest, freshest green color imaginable.) Of course many people sprinkle a cut avocado with lemon or white vinegar to prevent browning.
Many people also know the tip that to ripen an avocado, place the fruit in a brown paper bag in a cool place for two to five days. Daily check for ripeness. Refrigerate ripe avocados; use within three days.
I added the avocado seed to my mixture for my Mid-Summer Salad. Truly the avocado stayed bright green and never turned brown even hours after the salad had been in the refrigerator. Thanks, Margarita, for the suggestion!
Because of the addition of the diced chicken breast, Mid-Summer Salad--served with some warmed tortillas on the side (also left over from Sunday's fiesta)--made an ideal entree for a light summer meal. Here's to Mid- (or in the case of our salad, Early) Summer!
8 cups mixed greens (we used spinach)
2 eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
1/2 pound cooked boneless chicken breast, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons diced green onions
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Mix dressing ingredients in a small container. In a large salad bowl mix and toss greens, eggs, chicken breast, tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado. Add dressing and toss thoroughly. Chill and serve. Makes 4 servings.