summer salad

What you who are not from the Midwest might not know is that Chicago gives us many seasons, in the same week—in the same day—anytime it wants to. Saturday, for example, I spent the gloomy morning at the library, watching dark skies send rain onto waving maple trees and brick houses, but by early evening, the sun was bright and high, the air warm, charcoal breezes around us while we walked to dinner. Later still, the breezes turned cold again, when I pulled on my thickest coat to step onto the street and get in my car.

This has happened before, like when the air turned near-balmy in February or when we had our first snow before Halloween; it will happen again.

So when you visit, please bring a coat and t-shirts, sunscreen and an umbrella. We make no guarantees. All you can really be sure of is that we’ll be here, smiling, ready for whatever comes next, with bare trees turned to thick green clusters along the highway, spindly bushes turned to pink and red blossoms in yards, the threat of rain in the eastern horizon.

salad on the table

When you come in June, we will have salad—light and refreshing, cool and crunchy. Where winter (or early June sometimes, ahem) is hearty beef stew, summer is salad, even if it’s raining or the air turns cold and there are puddles to our doorway. This isn’t California—you can’t eat our produce year-round—but this is summer after all, and, some say, it’s smarter to eat for the weather you want than the weather you have.

making salad

Sometimes, in fact, when you eat like summer, summer comes. After I made this salad, a combination of greens and fruit and a homemade vinaigrette, we flipped and flopped from hot to cool, but by Sunday afternoon, when I met Jacqui for lunch at one my favorite places, it just so happened that the weather was absolutely perfect, and, even with temps predicted to drop below 50 in the evenings, I’ve heard most of this week will be hot and dry, sunshine everywhere. It’s summer, people. This is salad weather.

bowl of summer salad

This recipe originates from Angela of Spinach Tiger, who made it for the Inauguration (with strawberries, it is red, white and blue). We’ll have it sans strawberries but with loads of everything else: fresh greens, chopped toasted walnuts, apples, blueberries, shaved white chocolate. We’ll have it at the kitchen table, with ice water and a fresh loaf of bread, sitting next to the windows.

plated summer salad

Afterwards, I can’t say if we’ll go for a walk or watch a movie, sit beneath the stars or stay indoors; but, with good company and a salad like this to eat, does it matter?




Summer Salad
Adapted from Spinach Tiger

What I love about this salad is what I love about Angela’s recipes in general: it’s the kind of thing your friend, the one who’s a great cook, would make for you—simple, tested, full of flavor. By all means, feel free to improvise, but do follow her advice to freeze the blueberries and shave the white chocolate (don’t use chips), as both of those touches are important.

Ingredients:
4 cups salad greens (your choice, suggested: arugula* or mixed 50/50 with various salad greens)
1/2 thinly sliced gala apple
1/2 cup blueberries (freeze for at least 20 minutes)
(optional: 1/2 cup strawberries, washed peeled, cut in large slices)
2 Tablespoons toasted finely chopped walnuts for topping
Shaved premium white chocolate (NOT chips) enough to shave over entire salad
vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic dressing
Sea salt
Pepper

Directions:
For the dressing, mix 1 to 3 parts vinegar to oil, whisk together and then very gently toss into greens with your hands. If you’re using arugula, use the dressing sparingly, as this type of green does not need a lot of dressing. (You can always drizzle more vinegar over salad once it is assembled if you desire.)

Toss the greens before adding fruit or fruit will get mushy.

Add fruit on top of greens, placing apples in center and surrounding with blueberries and strawberries. Sprinkle toasted walnuts on top of apples. Shave good white chocolate all over the top, and then sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper. Drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar over the fruit.

*Arugula wilts faster than any green, so you’ll want to wait to add dressing until just before serving. For this reason, it might be better to mix it with some other greens to have a salad with a bit more body.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. meeso

    I am so jealous you are in Chicago! I was hoping my hubby would get a job at IIT and we could move there, but he got it right here in Kalamazoo X(~ Ah well, at least I’m not too far away… The salad looks great :)

  2. Shannalee

    Thanks, Jacqui!

    Nick – It’s been just over a week, and I love getting feedback (even if it’s negative, although I am glad you like it!)

    Meeso – Thanks for reminding me I am blessed. Chicago has good things, for sure. Although Kalamazoo… well, you’re not far from blueberry picking and pumpkin patches, am I right?

  3. Shannalee

    Today being Tuesday, our weather currently in the midst of flash-flood warnings, I am eating my words about it being warm and sunny most days. Oh, well. Time for salad nonetheless.

    Maya – Glad to know I’m not alone!

    Lainey – Thank you and I know!

    Jen – Ha! That’s usually all it takes for me, too.

  4. Angela@spinachtiger.com

    Thank you Shannalee. I was really enjoying your post (I love chicago) and I was thinking what a nice salad…and then “hey it’s angela of spinach tiger” Surprise. And, it’s such a compliment that you took the time to read the instructions. I can remember so clearly the day I made that salad and thought WHO puts white chocolate on salad. Why not? Salad is my favorite food. Suffice to say, so glad I found your blog.

    Are you on twitter. I’m @spinachtiger

    Cheers, Angela

  5. Pingback: FoodieView Blog » Beyond Lettuce: Explore New Options in Summer Salads

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