You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Mint’ tag.
This is hands down one of my favorite dishes in the summer – hand has easily been the thing most repeated around here in the last month or so.
You can dress it up as much or as little as you like, but I keep it pretty simple. Watermelon, cheese, herbs, and seasonings. If you want, some cucumber and a bit of red onion are also nice additions, but I usually just stick to the basics.
Feta or queso fresco are the best bets for cheese in my book (usually only going the queso fresco route on taco night, when I am using it in multiples places), but make sure you buy the feta in a block (often times still submerged in whey) – so you can cut it up yourself. The pre-crumbled kind is not nearly as good – and its not as though crumbling some cheese requires much work, no matter how simple you are keeping it.
Herbs – mint is my favorite here, but basil works too in a pinch – as would a combo of both. To season, I like a sprinkle of red wine or sherry vinegar and then a light drizzle of olive oil (a finishing one, if you keep multiples around) … the oil feels funky at first, but adds the perfect amount of richness.
The finishing touch, which takes it from super basic to a constant summer request, is a little bit of good flakey salt just before serving (i.e. Maldon) … it really brings it all together.
It is great for lunch, dinner, picnics and barbecues, but I recommend making it as close to serving as possible … or at least dressing it then. You want the melon to retain the water, not to have it become a soggy mess first in the bowl.
A few of the combos we have had it with so far:
- Lamb meatballs with tzatziki and grilled summer squash
- Fish tacos
- Buttermilk roast chicken and coleslaw
- Grilled halibut with basil aioli and sauteed kale
It really is great with everything! I have a feeling it will be on the menu again this week.
What are your summer favorites?
This salad has no story, expect that it is delicious. That’s it – well, pretty much.
The other day I went for a nice long walk along the Hudson (it was freezing, but at least the sun was out, so I was happy) and on my way home I stopped at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market. I needed to pick up some dried cranberries for this, and thought that detour would be more fun than my regular stops. The little market was teeming with spring goodies, the asparagus and English peas that I have been dreaming of and an abundance of fresh fava beans.
But surprisingly, I passed over all those things I had been waiting for, and picked up a teeny cantaloupe that was so fragrant, it literally jumped out at me as I passed by.
When I got home, I paired it up with some strawberries, fresh mozzarella, basil and mint. A drizzle of balsamic would be good here, but lo and behold when I went to grab it, we were out. (Which seems odd because I don’t remember using it for eons, but then, some days my memory isn’t the best. Now you know who you can tell your secrets!!)
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that this was a hit – strawberries and basil are a match; melon and mozzarella – obviously; melon and mint, another winner – but altogether … out of the park! This salad should have yielded leftovers and didn’t.
I think if you are looking for something fresh to add to Easter brunch, look no further.
Do you ever go out to a restaurant, order something that looks good, like it so much you want to make it at home and realize you already have everything you need? It’s as if your body must have really needed those nutrients to have been attracted to them in both places. Oh, that doesn’t happen to you?
Or not exactly.
A while back I ordered a lentil and kabocha salad and liked it so much that I wanted to make it again. The squash was spiced and roasted and I loved the lentils in a salad – they were almost al dente, so they created a nice contrast to the soft squash and even their normal soft(er) presentation.
But what had me really coming back for more was the ricotta salata.
In the summers I love to make a zucchini and summer squash spaghetti with lots of lemon, mint and basil and top it with a mound of ricotta salata, but I don’t use it too much in the winter. I think that may have been what sealed the deal for me on this dish, as (at least in my head) it made the whole salad a perfect representation of the departing winter and upcoming warmth.
Back at home, I did have lentils and a squash on hand, so it was basically meant to be, and we can just ignore the fact that I always have lentils and squash is pretty common around here during the fall and winter. I even had the mint – which is not a given in months with an “r.”
The only thing I needed to run out for was the ricotta salata.
So this counts for my threory, right?
Farmer’s markets, restaurants, magazines, the weather, walking around, other blogs, friends, parties – while this could be a list of my favorite things, in fact it is a (wholly incomprehensive) list of where I get ideas for this site. But when chatting with B the other day, I let it be known that he could make requests. Many things on here are spur of the moment, what’s in the fridge kind of posts, but occasionally there are go-to-the-store-with-an-idea in mind type of thing too. And I let him know that I am always open to suggestions for those.
And in about 2.5 seconds he answered lamb.
I think he loves it because:
I like to keep things on hand for an impromptu snack with a glass of wine after work or a quick gathering of friends. Something that doesn’t require going to the store (surprise!) and can be ready in about the same amount of time as it takes to open that bottle of wine.
So while cheese and crackers fit these two simple criteria (and are often on the case), sometimes it’s fun to have something with a bit more pizazz.
And since I am already ready for spring, let’s try to coax it out a bit early with some peas. While this nibble would of course be better with English peas, in the colder months, frozen baby peas work great.
A quick whirl in the food processor with some lemon juice and oil and you have a simple puree that is as bright in flavor as it is in color. You can spice it up with chili flakes, cool it off with some mint or my personal favorite – add the extra “umami” element with some truffle oil.