Melon with Blackberry Sauce & Pistachios.
Is that really a salad? Well I wittily titled this series “Summer Salads and Some Aren’t”. Get it? Some are some are not! That’s clever writing, huh?
But clever writing or not I still think it’s a salad. In fact I’d call it a breakfast salad. Perhaps a new culinary category– but delicious nonetheless. Hey! This could even be a dessert salad…
Okay, so now we have determined that this is indeed a salad. But not all salads need a vinaigrette. Some salads are sauced. In the case of this melon and blackberry salad the dressing is simply blackberries with some lemon juice and a bit of sugar. I infused the sauce with some fresh lemon verbena leaves as well. I think the herbal quality makes this sauce more suited to a sophisticated salad than a banana split sundae.
You could use any melon you like in this salad. You could even mix your melons (now I’m blushing). I chose galia, a green fleshed musk melon that is super sweet this time of year. I made mine into perfectly shaped little melon balls (blushing again) but slices or chunks taste just as delicious.
Crunch is a texture all salads need in some measure. I made that point yesterday when I introduced this week long series of Summer Salads. I also explained exactly what a salad was in my mind. This salad gets its crunch from pistachios. Besides the green color works so well with the melon flesh (now you’re blushing).
It’s true that salads can be hard to define. A pile of lettuce simply dressed is certainly a salad. But it’s not a really a meal.
Salads can be meals. Salads can be the main course. Especially in summer.
But you knew that.
So what actually defines a salad? It can certainly be the main course, a side dish, an elegant first course, or a fresh way to end a meal. Which sort of confuses the subject. So I simplify the definition and say that salads are creatively composed of fresh seasonal ingredients. I like a salad to have bright colors, plenty of crunch and if it’s to be the main course, a bit of lean protein.
Take this Roasted Chicken Salad with Yellow Bell Pepper & Lemon Slices. It certainly fits all my criteria. Because a salad like this doesn’t just make the meal, it makes the meal memorable.
This salad is light and easy enough for a summer evening. It comes together in just a matter of moments, especially if you choose to use leftover chicken or stop by the market on your way home and get a delicious whole roasted rotisserie chicken. I paid particular attention to the color palate and kept all the elements sunshine yellow to pay honor to the season. Sweet, crunchy yellow bell pepper sits next to whole sections of lemon slices. This is a great opportunity to practice your “supreme” skills. The whole pithless lemon sections are so juicy the only dressing this salad needs is a drizzle of the best olive oil you have in the house. They certainly add that unexpected “wow” factor.