Recipe: Crunchy Summer Salad Last weekend I visited a good friend of mine for a little retreat, and on our first night we cobbled together these two salads in a winning union that I would like to (prematurely) call the salad of the summer. The combination of a super crunchy, veg-forward salad with a light, lemony white bean salad made for something both more refreshing and more satisfying than either offers alone. It’s a light meal perfect for warm nights — and benefits from a citrusy kick from Goodlands’ newest Lemon Love Hot Sauce. We ate our salads with gusto, by winking fireflies, and chased it with a few melted marshmallows. I dare you to beat it. This super-salad would make a great weeknight meal or an easy potluck take-along, and could just as easily be adapted as a lighter side (omit the bean salad and halloumi) or zhuzhed up for a more substantial meal (grill some chicken or fish, add a side of hummus and pita, etc). I’ve listed the components here in the order that we prepared them, for flow. Vinaigrette ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, minced or crushed ½ teaspoon(ish) dried oregano ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt Freshly ground black pepper In a small jar, add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard, salt, and several grinds of pepper, seal tightly with the lid, and shake until emulsified. Season to taste. (You could also make a double batch and keep the extra dressing on-hand.) White Bean Salad 1/4 C chopped red onion 1 lemon, juiced 1 (14.5-ounce) can white beans 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper Add the chopped red onion and lemon juice to a small bowl, and let sit while preparing the rest of the salad. (This will make the onion milder and sweeter.) Drain the can of white beans – but do not rinse. Add the beans to a medium bowl, gently mix in EVOO, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Let sit while preparing the crunchy veg salad. Crunchy Veg Salad 1-2 cucumbers (1 long or 2 short) 1 green bell pepper 1-2 pints cherry tomatoes 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves 8 ounces halloumi cheese Olive oil (for frying halloumi) Cut cucumbers lengthwise, seed, and slice ¼-inch thick. Chop bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes in half (I like this trick!). Mix cut cucumbers, bell pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives in serving bowl, and roughly tear the mint leaves as you add them in.Sprinkle with salt & a few grinds of pepper and let sit. To fry the halloumi, halve the 8oz block lengthwise and slice into 1/4″ pieces. Add 2-4 tablespoons olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat, and once oil is shimmering (hot), place the halloumi slices flat in the oil, being careful that none overlap. Let them fry to golden-brown underneath before flipping. Once fried on both sides, remove from the heat, and set the halloumi pieces on paper towels (or a brown paper bag) to drain off excess oil. Assembly When you’re ready to serve, divide the chopped red onions between the White Bean Salad and the Crunchy Veg Salad. Mix evenly, and dress the Crunchy Veg Salad with the vinaigrette. Heap the salads side-by-side onto plates, add fried halloumi on the side, and spice with Lemon Love to-taste. If making a day ahead, wait to add the fresh herbs and dress the crunchy veg salad until just before serving, and fry the halloumi as close to serving as possible. Notes & Afterthoughts Play with the proportions here: Add more or less of what you like (or don’t like), or substitute in some crunchy veg from your farmers market or CSA. In peak summertime, you could play around with monochrome versions of this (think yellow peppers, sungold tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, etc). Additions and substitutions: Sundried tomatoes would be great with the olives, especially if taking this in a vegan direction. Chickpeas would work well instead of white beans. Feta or halloumi, your choice, but keep the feta cold, or be sure to fry the halloumi. You can’t go wrong by adding more fresh herbs — parsley, mint, oregano — in either the Crunchy Veg or White Bean Salads. Green onions could be used instead of red. Experiment and enjoy!