Local Food Challenge…Gorgeous Local Salads

Summer is so full of flavour! Markets are bursting with an abundance of garden-fresh vegetables and fruit, richly colourful and at their nutritious peak. This is the perfect time of year to enjoy gorgeous salads made with seasonal and local ingredients.  

Local Field Spinach with Chevre and Peaches

1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 large bunch of local field spinach, washed trimmed and torn into bite size pieces
1 peach, diced (or 1 cup of blueberries to keep it 100 mile)
1/2 cup chevre, crumbled (Happy Days, Goats Pride, Little Qualicum and Farmhouse are all local choices)
1/2 cup hazelnuts (Poplar Grove Hazelnuts will be at Trout Lake Farmers Market next on August 27!)
a dash of local sea salt (Vancouver Island Sea Salt available at Marche St George)

Saute onion in butter in a small skillet over medium heat until soft and transparent. Allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, arrange spinach between two salad bowls. Top with peaches, crumbled chevre and hazelnuts. Once onions are cooled, add to salad and finish with just a touch of sea salt.

Fancy Option! If you have a couple of extra minutes, grill the peaches. Simply halve and brush with a bit of butter or oil and then place, cut side down, on grill for 3-4 minutes until grill marks appear. Then slice and enjoy the gorgeous caramelized flavour.

To dress the salad, try a drizzle of oil (wild card alert!) and your choice of either local balsamic (from the Okanagan) or a cranberry juice reduction (to keep it 100 mile). To make the reduction, simmer 1 cup of Bremner’s cranberry juice until it reduces and add 1 tbsp of local honey to sweeten. For a creamy dressing, sweeten plain yogurt with a little bit of honey and stir in a bunch of chopped fresh herbs like dill and basil.

Panzanella Summer Salad – the Local Version

This is Heather’s favourite summer salad. She gets gorgeous tomatoes in her CSA produce box, so she’s been thoroughly enjoying this salad each week. With a local spin, we’ve skipped the capers but kept the olive oil as a wild card as it’s what adds loads of flavour. Instead of the usual red wine vinegar, we used a locally made balsamic or berry vinegar.

½ of a 100 Mile Loaf, cubed and toasted
3 large or 9 smaller tomatoes, cut into wedges or simply chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
¼ cup sweet red onion, diced
¼ cup bell pepper, roasted and diced
3 tbsp really good olive oil (if you’re going to wild card it, make it good!)
2 tbsp berry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (or chopped)

In a serving bowl, gently combine toasted bread cubes, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and roasted red pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together berry vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Drizzle over salad, add fresh basil and toss gently to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the bread cubes to soak up the tasty dressing.

Enjoy!

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