green summer salad + simple french vinaigrette

11Jul10

I love salads. I love the crunch, the savoriness, the multitude of textures and flavors. A beautiful, crisp lettuce is the perfect canvas for building interesting, bold flavor combinations. Currently, this salad is my go-to potluck dish. It’s simple, flavorful, and showcases summer produce.

I was first introduced to hearts of palm by Sunset Magazine. Before I encountered them in Sunset, I had never even heard of hearts of palm.  Hearts of palm remind me a lot of artichokes; a savory flavor and a creamy yet firm-to-the-touch texture. The subtleness of hearts of palm are a refreshing change from assertive artichokes here. In this salad, hearts of palm serve to complement the richness of the avocado, the brightness of the cherry tomatoes, the saltiness of the cheese and the acid of the vinaigrette.

Serve this salad in the height of summer, when tomatoes, basil and avocados are all at their prime.

Green Summer Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz. can of hearts of palm
  • 1 avocado
  • 5 sprigs basil
  • 4 oz. shaved parmesan cheese, optional
  • 3/4 cup simple french vinaigrette — see recipe here

Instructions:

  1. Wash, dry and tear lettuce into bite size pieces. Place in serving bowl.
  2. Wash and splice cherry tomatoes in half. Place in serving bowl.
  3. Drain and slice hearts of palm into quarters lengthwise, then in half. Place in serving bowl.
  4. Dice avocado into 1 inch pieces. Place in serving bowl.
  5. Clean basil, pluck from stems and dry. Snip into thin slices with kitchen shears.
  6. Place cheese, if using, in serving bowl.
  7. Toss salad with dressing directly before serving.
  8. Enjoy!
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