Easy and Delicious Summer Salads
Celebrate the season of fresh produce and outdoor dining with local salad recipes
These summer salad recipes are the perfect go-to summer meal for a cookout or socially distanced picnic on the beach. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite salads that tie in the flavors of the season, from heirloom tomatoes to burrata to shrimp. Looking for local ingredients to add to your salad? Check out our farmers market list for where you can find fresh and local meat, produce and other goods near you.
Grilled Tomato Salad
Recipe by Alex Guarnaschelli
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is a classically trained chef who appears on numerous Food Network shows, including as a judge on “Chopped” and “Beat Bobby Flay.” She also competes as one of the Iron Chefs on “Iron Chef America.”
Her cookbook, “The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart,” is a compilation of her favorite recipes, some from her family roots and others from along the way to TV stardom. More than 300 recipes range from appetizers to soups to main dishes to desserts. Each has that little extra something for an interesting flavor profile and none are too difficult to master.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 springs fresh oregano, stemmed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
7 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 1/4 lbs.) cut into 1.5-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the grill to high heat.
Make the dressing: In a small saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and add the fresh oregano. Cook the oregano in the warm oil until the green color fades and the leaves crisp up, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the oil and oregano into a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the dried oregano. Cut the limes in half and squeeze all the juice into the bowl. Use a citrus reamer or a spoon to scrape the pulp from the limes as well, and add the pulp to the bowl. Whisk all together. Taste for seasoning.
Grill the heirloom tomatoes: Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on two baking sheets. Season them on both sides with some of the Maldon salt, black pepper and sugar. Put the cherry tomatoes on a separate baking sheet and season them too. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the large tomato slices to the grill, arranging them in a single layer. Let them sit until they get a nice grill mark on the bottom (and a great charred flavor), 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over and let them cook for a few minutes longer. Transfer the grilled tomatoes to a serving platter. Top with the cherry tomato halves.
Finish the salad: Drizzle the tomatoes with the dressing and sprinkle with any remaining sea salt. Taste a piece of tomato to check the seasoning. If it lacks sweetness, a sprinkle of sugar on the tomatoes can make all the difference. Serve immediately.
Pickity Place’s Heirloom Tomato and Fennel Salad
Recipe courtesy of Pickity Place
One of the nicest places for a destination lunch lies amidst the rolling hills of Mason. In fact, the journey there is part of the charm. The quaint red cottage, built in 1786, is the focal point for a charming garden, interesting gift shop, herb nursery and lovely five-course luncheon. (A nice selection of herb packets, also available online, is among the nursery’s best offerings.) In the 1940s, artist Elizabeth Orton Jones used the cottage as the model for her illustrations in the Little Golden Books version of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Today, there are three daily seatings at 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. ($24.95). Menus are geared to the season, inspired by the garden and change with the months.
1 head of romaine lettuce, trimmed and cut into ribbons
1 container spring mix lettuce, torn by hand
3 cups tri-colored heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup red onion, thinly julienned
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 pinch of salt and cracked black pepper
12 small buffalo mozzarella balls, sliced in half
6 slices of watermelon radish, shaved thin
1 fennel bulb, shaved thin (Pickity Place uses bronze fennel.)
1 European cucumber, sliced very thin so that you can make slices into ribbons
In a mixing bowl, add the tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper. Gently mix and set aside. Place the mixed lettuce on serving plates and top with the tomato and onion mixture. Add the buffalo mozzarella, fennel, watermelon radish and curled cucumber. Top with the blood orange vinaigrette (recipe below).
1 tablespoon blood orange concentrate
1 tablespoon orange concentrate
1 cup light olive oil
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup sweet basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Whisk ingredients thoroughly and serve over salad. Garnish with fresh basil or Italian parsley.
Spring Burrata Salad
Recipe by Executive Chef Bryan Leary of Oak & Grain
Enjoy this tasty Maplebrook Farm burrata with grilled asparagus, pickled ramps, grilled olive French bread, shaved prosciutto, and charred cherry tomato salad with a lemon Prosecco vinaigrette.
Ingredients to compose salad
6 ounces of burrata (Maplebrook Farm burrata is available at Whole Foods.)
2 ounces of thinly sliced prosciutto
8 stalks of asparagus with woody ends removed
4 slices of olive French bread cut into ¼-inch bias slices (Any artisan bread works well.)
1 tablespoon of an oil blend for brushing over bread, asparagus and tomatoes
2 handfuls of greens (micro arugula, regular arugula or basil, spring mix — Loudon’s lēf Farms Spicy Mix is a nice choice.)
8 heirloom cherry tomatoes (Larger tomatoes can be quartered.)
Pickled ramps (sliced red onion could be substituted)
2 stalks of wild ramps (save the greens for something else, like ramp pesto or butter.)
4 tablespoons white vinegar
½ tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon salt
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bulb shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (Zest lemon first and reserve for garnish.)
2 tablespoons Prosecco or champagne
vinegar to omit alcohol
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon sugar
½ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Turn on your grill or cook indoors with a sauté pan. Heat to medium heat.
Prepare pickled ramps (or red onion)
Pour water, white vinegar, ½ tablespoon salt and sugar into small pot and heat until dissolved.
Cut ramps length-wise into 4 equal parts for each stalk (making 8 total pieces). Place in a heat-safe bowl and pour vinegar mixture over them, wrap with plastic wrap and set aside.
Prepare lemon vinaigrette
Either use a blender or immersion blender. Add Dijon, Prosecco or champagne vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and shallot. While blender is running slowly, add olive oil until oil is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare salad ingredients
Brush bread, asparagus and tomatoes with oil blend, and season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus and bread until there is color on both sides (about 2 minutes on each side). Turn off grill and put seasoned tomatoes on the grill till they char a little bit.
Set out two large salad bowls. Tear the 6-ounce ball of burrata in half and separate between two bowls. Add torn prosciutto, charred tomatoes, asparagus that’s been cut into bite-size pieces and torn bread, and divide equally between the bowls.
Remove ramps from pickling liquid (save liquid for pickling ideas or a new vinaigrette!). Split ramps between the bowls. Dress lightly with vinaigrette and sprinkle lemon zest for garnish.
Pairs nicely with a glass of Prosecco or pinot grigio.
Fresh Maine Shrimp Citrus Salad
Recipe by Chef Bill Russell of the now-closed Milford Fish Market & Restaurant
Look for Maine Shrimp or Native Shrimp (Pandalus borealis) at fish markets this season. Purchase them whole for the freshest flavor. Just remember that 4 lbs. of whole shrimp will be 2 lbs. after the head and shell is removed. Save the shells and heads for a tasty broth. A beautiful glistening pink when raw and delightfully sweet, consider serving these shrimp cleaned and just marinated in the dressing for this refreshing salad. Other ideas for Maine shrimp include risotto and bisque.
2 pounds Maine shrimp, cooked (Boil in water for 1/2 minute, then chill in an ice bath to stop cooking.)
16 ounces mixed greens
1 large grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 fresh pineapple, wedged
20 cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Add dressing to cooked shrimp
Arrange salad greens and fruit on individual plates and top with 1/2 cup of shrimp. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salads. Serve at once.