Labor Day Salads For End Of Summer

green beans

It’s a fact, the end of summer is here. The light is changing already and soon fall and comfort foods will be on the horizon.

Labor Day is just a few days away and there’s still a surplus of summer veggies still available. These salads are easy to put together and great to bring to any cookout, BBQ or just as a side dish for your own personal grilling.

Most salads here have no recipes linked because visually you can see all the ingredients I used, and as far as dressings go you can make your own favorites, but I’ll mention the ones I used.

On the bean salad above I used a balsamic vinaigrette tossed with a mix of colorful veggies and haricot verts.

Greek salad

For this Greek salad I used a good quality olive oil with Greek oregano, salt and pepper.

burrata cheese

Beautiful heirloom tomatoes that I’m dearly going to miss! Adorned with burrata cheese, homemade basil pesto and olive oil.

fresh figs

Figs are coming in strong for their last hurrah, here’s the link how I put it together.

summer tomatoes

More tomatoes of course, on a bed of arugula with my favorite castelvetrano olives, red onion and a generous olive oil drizzle.

tomato salad

Mix up a “salsa” of small diced corn, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, fresh mozzarella and chickpeas, over a layer of cooked green beans or haricot verts with a healthy dose of olive oil.

zucchini asparagus salad

With this panzanella salad you could easily replace the asparagus with green or yellow beans, here’s the link how I put it together.

tomato and cucumbers

I can’t put a number on how many tomato and cucumber salads we had all summer, it’s a staple in my house, it’s quick to make and the perfect side for summer eating. Good quality olive oil, fresh basil from the garden, it  doesn’t get better than that! You can toss in some toasted. bread cubes or not!

grilled potato salad

Grilled potatoes and grilled corn get tossed together with a combination of Mediterranean ingredients as shown below, the dressing I used was a white balsamic vinaigrette.

salad ingredients

I hope these salads inspire you to use up the best and the last of summers bounty, I know I’ll be dreaming about those exquisite summer tomatoes in the dead of winter!

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Fresh Summer Tomato Risotto

fresh tomato risotto

When summer comes and tomatoes are ripe and juicy I look forward to making this fresh tomato risotto. It’s not heavy as you might think, it’s a summer version that’s actually refreshingly light.

You can eat it as is for dinner or lunch on a hot summer day or pair it with grilled meats, veggies or fish, either way you’ll love the delicate flavors of the sweet tomatoes along with garlic, onions, white wine and grated parmesan.

summer tomatoes

Make this while the tomatoes are at their peak at farmers markets, produce departments and especially your home gardens.

making risotto

The process is pretty much the same as making any risotto, sautéing the veg, adding the rice, stirring in the broth.

pot of simmering risotto

The sweet, fresh tomatoes get tossed right into the pot until everything absorbs and mingles together.

cooked tomato risotto

Toss in some freshly grated Parmigiano and a hunk of butter at the end.

plated risotto

Now shower it with fresh torn basil!

stuffed. risotto tomatoes

Now if you so happen to have any leftovers, grab a few  more summer tomatoes, hollow them out, add the pulp to the existing leftover risotto and stuff them into the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and bake until tender and soft!

Fresh Summer Tomato Risotto
 
A summery version of risotto that features sweet fresh tomatoes.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups of arborio rice
  • 3 cups of cubed, ripe summer tomatoes, not. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced, red or yellow
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½. cup white wine
  • 1 box of low sodium broth, chicken or veggie
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano or Pecorino cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • basil
Instructions
  1. Simmer broth in a pot on top of the stove
  2. In a heavy bottom pan on medium heat add a knob of butter and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Add the chopped onion, stirring til soft but not brown.
  4. Add in the garlic and rice, stirring til coated.
  5. Add the white wine and tomatoes, let it all absorb a little.
  6. Toss in the warm broth a ladle full at a time stirring with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed, continue doing this until the rice is cooked but slightly al dente.
  7. You may have some broth leftover, the key is you want your risotto, loose and creamy but of course cooked.
  8. When finished turn off the heat, stir in the grated cheese along with a knob of butter, taste for salt and pepper.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh torn basil.
  10. Enjoy!

 

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Batter Fried Zucchini Fritters With Lemon Aioli Dipping Sauce

fried fritters

Zucchini season is upon us and here’s an easy way to whip up some delicious batter fried zucchini fritters. The key method here is using a batter instead of any breadcrumbs, the batter is highly seasoned and it takes seconds to mix up.

You won’t need to do any shredding of the zucchini either, something I never liked doing because the zucchini gets water logged and then you have to spend time squeezing all that liquid out and not to mention it’s such a messy job!

fried zucchini

Batter fried zucchini fritters will give you an end result of nice crispy edges with a soft and tender inside, perfection in the fritter department!

chopped zucchini

What you need to do is take your zucchini, cut it right down the center, then quarter each half then with a knife slice off the seed portion as shown above, you’re not going to get all of it off and that’s ok, you’ll get most of it. Then proceed to dice up the rest.

chopped zucchini in batter

After you whip up your batter you’ll just drop your chopped zucchini right inside and toss to get it well coated.

frying fritters

Then just scoop out and start frying!

fried fritters

And before you know it you’ll have a tray full of crispy and delicious fritters!

eggplant batter

Back in the day my mother in law would make this versatile batter to fry up her eggplant slices and zucchini this way. For the eggplant she would just do a quick swipe on each side into the batter, then into the frying pan, her old school method never fails!

fried eggplant

The picture above is a tray of eggplant slices made with her batter, so good you just want to eat them like that!

fried zucchini fritters

I hope you try this easy batter method for your zucchini fritters and whatever other veggie you want to try. My mother in law never had a specific recipe for this, she would always say you just want the end result to be the consistency of pancake batter, some what loose but not runny. I did however try to give you specific amounts in the recipe below, but make it your own.

Enjoy!

Batter Fried Zucchini Fritters With Lemon Aioli Dipping Sauce
 
Zucchini fritters, quick and easy!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 good sized, medium zucchini, sliced in half then each half into quarters, slice off most of the seed section then small dice the rest. ( refer to picture in blog post)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2- 3 heaping tablespoons of chopped parsley, you could do basil as well
  • ¾ to 1 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sparkling water like Pellegrino
  • olive oil
  • LEMON AIOLI
  • 1 cup full fat mayo
  • fresh lemon juice, enough to thin out the mayo
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, flour, cheese, parsley and sparkling water until you get a nice pancake like batter consistency, not too thick and not too loose. salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss in your chopped zucchini pieces and. coat well.
  3. Get your skillet nice and hot add olive oil to coat the bottom. ( I used a non stick pan.)
  4. Scoop the zucchini batter with a quarter cup measuring cup, then press down a little to make a patty shape.
  5. Fry til deep golden on each side and place on a wire rack not a paper towel, sprinkle lightly with salt while hot.
  6. For the lemon aioli just mix everything together in a bowl using enough lemon juice to thin out the mayo to a nice consistency.
  7. A great snack, appetizer, side dish, light lunch or dinner.
  8. You can also dip them in warm marinara sauce.
  9. I yielded 18 fritters with this amount.

 

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