Well, here we are celebrating the end of the summer, and the produce is still incredible. In our house, we are all about seasonal salads and fresh ingredients, which appears to be gourmet but the truth is that it is also easy. The beautiful fruits and vegetables make instantly healthy meals – and the more simple, the better. What puts the salads over the top is having a pantry armed with a few good quality ingredients. My mantra is:
GOOD INGREDIENTS MAKE GOOD FOOD.
So my recommendation is to invest in a few bottles of high quality olive oil and a good basalmic glaze. The flavors of the end of summer heirloom tomatoes and peaches are soooo amazing on their own that it would be criminal to pour store-bought salad dressing on top of them. A lot less healthy too (do I need to get started on the hidden fats, sugars and preservatives?). Keep it simple and more flavorful with some nice olive oils and vinegars on hand. The goal is not to disguise the flavors but to enhance them…
Here are a few of my go-to ingredients. I use them as the finishing touch on salads or meats as they come off the grill, I use them all the time. I have tested quite a few olive oils and Texas Olive Ranch is my current favorite brand, but not always easy to find. See their entire product line here with flavors to please any palette. The basalmic glaze is simply a reduction of good quality basalmic vinegar- a convenience worth having, which can be found at a high-end grocery store or cooking store in small squeeze bottles that will enable you to be as creative as you want in your plate presentations, zigzagging the glaze on the plate if you please. Unleash your inner artistic chef.
So what do we do with all of this? Anything… limitless possibilities.
The above salad has grilled peaches, striped beets, and burrata, with a few sprigs of micro greens…finished with a few rounds of basalmic glaze. Simple, clean and delicious. The ingredients speak for themselves and the combination makes us want summer to last forever. Grilled peaches with that same basalmic glaze (or vanilla ice cream and basalmic glaze) make a beautiful dessert as well.
Peach, heirloom tomato, spinach, blueberries… with a drizzle of basil olive oil. That’s it. Simple, delicious and healthy.
These flavored olive oils are also great over hummus, rice, meats, you name it. Use them creatively, they will not disappoint.
* note about olive oil: it is not advisable to cook with olive oil- it has one of the lowest smoke points of any oil, which means that it breaks down when exposed to high heat, becoming toxic and carcinogenic. Not worth the health risk… I cringe when I see recipes using olive oil over high heat.
Happy Labor Day (to all American readers) and Bon Appétit!