End of Summer Salad
I have a love-hate relationship with those few weeks when summer bleeds into fall. By the end of August, I feel totally done with shorts and sweating. On the other had, these are the days when farmers' markets and even grocery stores are brimming with the most luscious produce of the season. I dream of the day when my children are old enough to allow me fill my cold cellar with with enough canned and pickled goods to last us through the cold hard months of winter.
Until then, I have to content myself with gorging on the bounty while it lasts, and this salad is perfect for that. It is a riff on a family favourite, affectionately known as Emma Liut salad after a very chic and lovely girlfriend of my sister-in-law who brought it to a bachelorette cottage weekend years ago. The original was perfect for the eating during a hot weekend along side tons of other rich foods--simple, fresh, and light, with just enough creaminess from the avacado to make it satisfying. My version pulls on another classic late summer combination--peaches and tomatoes, and adds a crumble of blue cheese for intensity and richness. It could easily stand alone for lunch, but is perfect along side a simple chicken breast or piece of grilled fish for supper.
So grab a tote bag and a big straw hat and head to your latest farm stand. I promise you, you will not regret this salad.
End of Summer Salad
3 cobs of corn, grilled or boiled and cooled
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, finally sliced
1-2 peaches or nectarines, diced into large cubes
1 avocado, cubed
Big handful of basil, shredded or torn
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 tbs chives, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and tumble them into a serving bowl with the tomatoes, onion, peaches and avocado, and most of the herbs and cheese. Squeeze the lime juice over the salad, season with salt and pepper, and slick with enough olive oil to coat everything nicely without becoming soggy. Toss well, and give it a taste. Adjust the seasonings as necessary, and finish with a final sprinkle of herbs and crumble of cheese.
*This salad highlights the best ingredients on offer in late summer. If you don't have access to beautiful peaches or nectarines, I would omit them all together, rather than including ones that are under-ripe or less than great. If you have some particularly glorious large tomatoes, use those in place of the cherry tomatoes. If blue cheese is not up your alley, feel free to leave substitute with something that floats your boat; I think some lovely sheep's milk feta would be equally great. You can also omit the cheese all together, which makes for a satisfying vegan offering.