Two Summer Salads

Two Summer Salads: Cucumber Dill SaladIt’s A Toss Up!

As a general rule, I am not a salad kinda gal. You will almost never see me order a salad for a meal. There are some notable exceptions. On rare occasion, a Cobb Salad hits the spot.

It’s not that I have anything against salads. I don’t. I love veggies. I simply would rather have something else along with my salad. The salads I prepare are more of a side veggie than a bowl of leafy greens.

I have recently discovered two recipes that quickly became go-to favorites. They are easy and go well with Summer meals. I found this first recipe while researching Tyler Florence for this coming weekend’s cookbook club dinner, and it made it to the menu. It takes minutes to assemble and is perfect with the ripe avocados of the summer. Of course, anything with bacon works for me.

The second is for people who like pickles. That would be me. (I blame my Viking heritage.) However, here’s a way to enjoy fresh pickles without the two-week wait. I was looking for a recipe that would help me use up the cucumbers (that have been multiplying like rabbits in my garden) since I haven’t had time to make them into pickles. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s cooling and full of flavor and great with burgers or anything you want to throw on the grill.

Avocado Salad with Lemon, Bacon and Watercress
Adapted from FoodNetwork

4 slices bacon
3 avocados, halved and pitted
1/2 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay the bacon in a sauté pan and bake until crispy for 15 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and let it drain for a couple of minutes.

Carefully scoop out each of the six avocado halves using an oversized spoon and arrange them on a platter. Scatter the watercress over the avocado and crumble the bacon over the top. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cucumber Dill Salad
Adapted from Epicurious

1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 English cucumber, cut into lengthwise slices with a vegetable peeler
1 tablespoon chopped dill

Add vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a jar with a lid and shake well to mix. Add onion; let pickle for 30 minutes.

Stir together cucumber and dill in a bowl.
Pour off the excess water.
Toss the salad with the dressing and onions just before serving.

photo by Johnny Miller

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