Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 July 2014

Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad

Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad

I don't know about you, but salad is just about the only thing I'm really craving right now. It's cool, refreshing, and delicious. It's an excellent way to eat as much delicate summer fruit as possible -- and vegetables as well. And it's certainly the season for a bounty of fresh produce!

Lately, our CSA box has been showering us with assorted greens, heads of fennel, baskets of strawberries, and even a still-rooted basil plant that's been resting happily in a jar of water for a good week. I supplemented this mix with a single white nectarine, and ten minutes later sat down to a huge plate of delicious fruit, herbs, and vegetables. So good.

I used a mix of butter lettuce and baby spinach for the base of this salad. Spinach and strawberry, together forever, right? The butter lettuce upped the crunch factor for a good contrast with the soft fruit and herbs. If you want an even greater contrast, you could also add in some bitter crunchy greens like endive or radicchio. Or toss on some toasted almonds, if that floats your boat. It's all good.

For dressing, I went super simple with olive oil and lemon. This salad could definitely stand up to a syrupy balsamic vinegar instead of the lemon -- I just tend not to ever have such a thing in the house. Yes, a foodblogger without balsamic vinegar! But no matter what my kitchen stock may be, berries and stone fruit with balsamic are still completely classic.

Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad

Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad

lettuce of your choice
2-3 strawberries per serving
1/2 nectarine per serving
3 fennel fronds per serving
4-5 basil leaves per serving
olive oil
lemon wedge
salt, pepper

Chop up your lettuce, wash, and spin dry. Arrange a few handfuls on as many salad plates as you want servings. Drizzle with a few drops of olive oil.

Wash your strawberries, halve or quarter them according to size, and scatter them across your plates of lettuce.

Wash your nectarine, twist the halves off the pit, and slice into thin slices. If your pit clings, slice individual slices off the nectarine, using the remaining flesh as a pivot for your knife, and gradually rotate until you have enough. Add your nectarine to your salads.

Roughly chop your fennel fronds and slice your basil leaves into thin strips. Distribute them over your salads.

Drizzle some olive oil over each plate of salad. Season with salt and pepper. Serve each salad with a lemon wedge for individual acid adjustment, or just squeeze and serve if you prefer.

Strawberry, nectarine, basil, and fennel frond salad

This salad is great by itself, or with a few crackers and cheese on the side as a simple lunch, but it would also work very well with all kinds of other dishes. Vivid carrot soup, garlicky white bean salad, or a piece of simple poached fish -- it's all good. Or shred some leftover chicken and add it in for a full meal in salad form. Hooray, salad!

Are you eating any of your summer fruit in salad form?


June Baby said...

I feel the same way! Salads are fantastic in the summer. This variation looks lovely! :)

foodfeud said...

Look at those pretty nectarines! Fennel is so refreshing too, it's great for the summer. Funny, because I usually find myself eating and roasting it in the winter.

Caz said...

What a pretty looking salad and full of some of my favourite summer produce. I'm loving fennel right now and also can't get enough of peaches and blueberries. You've inspired me to get experimenting with my salads!

Joanne said...

That salad is a beauty!! I love the inclusion of fruits...they make salads so much tastier!

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