Ah, summer has arrived and with it innumerable possibilities for summer salads. I’m drawn to them for several reasons. First, I spent winter and spring inhaling chips and pizza, all the while resolving to get that coveted “summer bod” by the beginning of June. Well my friends, that moment has come and gone, but I maintained the delusion up until the very last minute. So salads have become a shame-tinged meal for me to consume while I lounge poolside in a darling one-piece.
Second, who doesn’t love buying loads of seasonal summer produce and finding new ways to revive old recipes? I love going to the farmer’s market and buying up fresh fruits, herbs, and vibrant vegetables to use in recipes both classic and contemporary.
And finally, as the heat strangles my every impulse and desire this summer, I find myself seeking meals that require minimal exertion. Salads are generally cold and do not require the use of your stove or oven. This is essential when you live in hel–I mean The Valley. It’s often too hot to cook so I resort to taking traditional recipes and adding a twist to keep them interesting. Summer heat waves inspire salads and one of my favorites is the caprese.
I paired heirloom tomatoes, with smoked mozzarella, basil, chili oil, and lemon zest for a very simple but refreshing twist. The result was juicy and smoky, with the perfect amount of heat. Serve with toasted baguette slices on a large cutting board for a rustic spread and enjoy this salad on hot afternoons or for a casual dinner!