I'm a firm believer that Labor Day does not signify the end of summer. First of all, there are really only two seasons here in LA...hot and less hot. Second of all, according to the calendar there are usually another two to three weeks of summer after Labor Day and this year, the summer is still going strong! However, although I don't believe in Labor Day being the end of summer, I do believe it is a great excuse to barbecue and hang out with friends and have a nice long weekend. We had one of our legendary potlucks at JenFinn's house that weekend. I was stumped at what to make. People were bringing everything from barbacoa to fondue. Jen was amused because she thinks I cook every day. Just so you know...I don't! I then remembered this salad that I've managed to make three times in the last couple of weeks. There's very little cooking involved besides hard boiling the eggs and blanching the lima beans. Speaking of lima beans, I'm newly obsessed with the beans that come from McGrath Family Farms here in Southern California. Unfortunately, I discovered them too late and haven't been able to get them in the last week or so. I can't wait until next season so I can take full advantage of the crop. Also, some may find anchovies draped over the eggs strange...Don't knock it till you try it. The combo reminds me of one of my favorite tartine sandwiches from Le Pain Quotidien and it's really, really good.
Check out just some of the amazing things my friends made for our potluck. I'm so lucky to have such a talented group of chef-like friends!
Honey Wasabi Grilled Shrimp
Ponzu Grilled Corn
Classic Salad Nicoise
(Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz)
Makes 2 servings
2 large, ripe tomatoes
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup lima beans, blanched and cooled
1/3 cup small black olives (I used halved kalamata olives)
3-4 large handfuls baby romaine leaves
3 hard-cooked eggs, cut into wedges
6 tablespoons French vinaigrette (recipe below)
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 anchovy filets, cut into thin strips lengthwise
Rub a large wooden or glass salad bowl with the garlic
Cut the tomatoes into wedges and sprinkle with salt. Place in a colander and let them drain for a few minutes.
Add the cucumber, onions, beans, and lettuce to the bowl. Add a bit of the dressing and toss to combine. Arrange the salad on plates. Top with the tomatoes and eggs. Top each egg wedge with an anchovy strip.
(From David Lebovitz)
Makes about 1/4 cup of dressing
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives
In a bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, shallot, mustard and oil. Season with pepper as needed. Just before serving, stir in the chives.