At this time of year, it’s tempting to serve a simple green salad with lemon juice and olive oil alongside your main course each night. If green vegetables are so fresh and flavorful, why make life more complicated? Here’s why. Because the slightly dynamic combination of cheese and fruit takes the salad to the next level. Very little energy consumed. Here are four of my favorite combos.
strawberry + feta cheese
“Anytime, any day, almost any summer fruit can be turned into a gorgeous salad by relying on feta,” says Emily Nunn, author of the wildly popular book. salad department Newsletter. “The salty, slightly creamy flavor pairs wonderfully with watermelon, cantaloupe, stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines), tomatoes, and other berries.” I love the combination of try: Mix gem lettuce with chilled roasted beets, strawberries, chopped mint, crushed feta cheese, green onions and crushed pistachios. dressing: In a small jar or measuring cup, sprinkle or whisk 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons honey, salt, and pepper. Once mixed, pour 1/3 cup of olive oil into the jar and shake or whisk in a steady stream until emulsified.
blueberry + goat cheese
The acidity of goat cheese has always benefited from a hint of sweetness. Often seen paired with honey, jams, dried heirloom fruits, etc., it’s no wonder it’s a natural partner for blueberries in the summer. (His July Maine blueberries are shown here, but he doesn’t set the bar too high.) try: Toss with romaine (or mixed greens), goat cheese, blueberries, green onions, and toasted pecans. dressing: In a small jar or measuring cup, shake 1/4 cup of sherry vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper. Once mixed, shake or whisk in a steady stream with 1/2 cup oil in jar until emulsified.
peach/nectarine + blue cheese
Juicy stone fruits, especially peaches and nectarines, pair well with flavorful, pungent blues. It may sound strange, but mold loves sugar. I just want to get the ripest fruit I can find. Unripe, sour nectarines or peach slices won’t help here. try: Mix tomatoes (any kind, but if not grapes or cherries, cut them into bite-size pieces), chopped peaches, and crushed blue cheese. Green: Optional. dressing: Olive oil, salt, a little pepper.
fig + halloumi (or palm, blue, or just about anything)
There’s a reason fig jam has been popping up on the internet and IRL cheese plates over the past decade. Figs pair well with almost any flavor, from sharp (palm) to stinky (blue). ripe figs Author Yasmine Khan reminded me last year of salty (Halumi, above). “For me, the best food pairing is not only about flavor, but also about texture,” Khan says. “The fig and halloumi salad provides the perfect mouth-watering contrast between the sweet, sticky fruit and the salty, savory fried cheese.” try: Yasmin Salad! Or arugula with crushed blue cheese, quartered ripe figs, leeks and chives. dressing: In a small jar or measuring cup, combine 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper and shake or whisk. Once mixed, shake or whisk in a steady stream with 1/2 cup oil in jar until emulsified.
PS Only 5 potato salad hacks and salad dressings you’ll need.
(picture of figs and halloumi ripe figs To Matt Russell. )