Salads / Side Dishes

Salads of Summer


Summer abundance has officially (it wasn’t official before, trust me) arrived in the form of crates of cucumbers and tomatoes. They’ve been trickling in for a couple weeks now, but now that they’ve quite literally burst onto the scene, my life is whole. Complete, really. I could die happy now – well, right after I eat another summer salad. Bury me with my cookbooks, please.

I’ve always had a thing for hothouse vegetables. When I was younger, I would eat tomatoes like apples and cucumbers like…well, I guess there isn’t a particularly elegant comparison. I would just eat whole cucumbers, taking giant bites that left water trickling down my chin. I’m assuming it all stems from our backyard garden, where the Texas heat caused copious amounts of cucumbers and tomatoes to sprout up, and left my family with a refrigerator teeming with little else.


Now that I’m older, and clearly more sophisticated, I like to eat my rubies and emeralds in delightfully crunchy and refreshing salads, dressed with a little salt and pepper, and a generous slick of olive oil. Balsamic vinegar, if I’m feeling especially fancy. When the heat’s turned up high, your apartment is broiling, and you’re chowing down on the fire escape for a little sweet relief, these salads are just the ticket. Here are a couple of my favorites!


Simple Tomato, Cucumber, and Basil Salad

  • 1 medium tomato, cut in wedges
  • 1 cucumber, roughly diced
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and toss well.


Cucumber, Tomato, and Radish Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 small radishes, thinly sliced into half-coins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine vegetables in a bowl or on a plate.

2. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar on top of salad, sprinkle with a dash of pepper and salt.


3 thoughts on “Salads of Summer

  1. Hey, it wasn’t _because_ of the Texas heat, but _in spite_ of the heat and my elaborate watering system that our fridge was full of sublimely juicy cucumbers. The water has to be administered perfectly or they’ll become bitter! Hence the timers and soaker hoses and mulch and trellis and what not.

  2. Hi Amy,
    Your ruby and emerald vegetables are some of summer’s blessings, and dressing them
    up with basil and olive oil and balsamic vinegar make them delightful. I remember going out to my mother’s garden behind the barn and picking up the salt shaker from the window sill (very handy) and delighting in those wonderful tomatoes and cucumbers. I’m planning to have some of your ruby and emerald salad tomorrow. Thanks.

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