Summer Greens and Nectarines Salad

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summer greens and nectarines salad

Dandelion, purslane, and watercress are examples of summer greens. The types of leafy green vegetables that are in season in the summer. It’s good to get to know these greens because as the weather heats up some of our favorite greens (even when available) aren’t always at their best.

Kale a terrific cool season green that is quickly becoming a staple these days. But the truth is kale (and other Brassica) take on an unpleasant bitterness when grown in too much heat. Other cool season greens, such as arugula, tend to bolt when presented with long hot days– sending out flowers and producing seeds too quickly.

You could accept these limitations. Hydroponics have made many of our favorites (though a bit pricy) available year-round. Or you could embrace the greens that naturally thrive this time of year. Dandelion, purslane, and watercress are three of my favorite summer greens. Lamb’s quarters, Malabar spinach, taro, and the leaves of sweet potato plants are also summer greens that are as worthy of the plate as cool season favorites like kale.

Another problem with summer greens (or really any leafy vegetable trying to survive the heat) is how quickly they go limp. Just the hike up the hill from the Hollywood Farmers Market is sometimes enough to cause even the hardiest of summer greens like dandelion, to cower from the sunshine.

There’s a simple, though occasionally disappointing solution. Sometimes I sauté the greens that have prematurely bowed their little heads. But that won’t work in today’s Summer Greens and Nectarines Salad. This salad is served cool and crisp, and that’s best achieved with a simple bowl of ice water.

Ice water is how good restaurants are able to consistently serve serve crisp salads in any kind of weather. Any vegetable you want to serve crisp and raw will benefit from a cool bath in an icy pond. Especially summer greens. Try it. GREG

refreshing salad greens in ice water

Dandelion, Purslane, Watercress Salad with Nectarines

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Dandelion, Purslane, Watercress Salad with Nectarines

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe, but firm nectarines
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • seas salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 5 ounce fresh dandelion leaves (washed, dried, torn into bite size pieces)
  • 5 ounce purslane (washed, dried, thick stems removed and discarded)
  • 5 ounce watercress (washed, dried, roots and thick stems trimmed and discarded)
  • ½ cup roughly chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup fresh chive batons (1-inch lengths)

Directions

Slice the nectarines: Using a mandoline thinly slice both nectarines on either side of the pit into very thin rounds. Using a paring knife remove and roughly chop the remaining flesh, discarding pit. Set the slices and chopped nectarine aside separately.

Alternatively you may use a chef’s knife to cut the the nectarines into 4 “cheeks” by cutting them on either side of the pit, then slicing each cheek into very thin rounds. Roughly chop the remaining flesh, discarding pit. Set the slices and chopped nectarine aside separately.

Make the vinaigrette: Place water, sugar and chopped nectarine into a small sauce pan set over medium high heat, bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until a syrupy consistency is achieved, about 8 minutes. Strain the syrup into a mason jar, discard the nectarine flesh.

To the jar with the syrup add, vinegar, olive oil, paprika, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until well-combined. Set aside. The vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead; keep covered and refrigerated. Shake well before using.

Make the salad: In a large shallow serving bowl combine dandelion, purslane, watercress, nectarine slices and chopped almonds. Drizzle a few tablespoons vinaigrette, and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with chives and season with black pepper. Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette on the side.