Dana Slatkin

Late Summer Salad of Nectarine, Tomato, Avocado and Burrata Cheese with Malt Vinaigrette

late summer season salad with nectarine tomato avocado

Photo credit: Audrey Slatkin

I know I’ve been talking a lot about fall lately, but here in L.A., there’s still a long stretch of summer left. Sunshine abounds, evenings are still warm, and Labor Day promises clear skies and a postcard-perfect backdrop for picnics and barbeques.

With juicy tomatoes and stone fruits lingering on market stands well into next month, I’ll be taking advantage in the kitchen as long as possible. This colorful salad takes inspiration from a summer favorite, the ubiquitous Caprese. But the resemblance ends there. In fact, it’s got me thinking about salads in a totally different light.

Most of us are used to putting some greens and veggies in a big bowl, dousing them with dressing, and then tossing the whole lot together. This technique works well for greens and grains, but with more delicate add-ins like tomatoes and burrata cheese, you end up with a soggy mess.

Instead, consider the salad as a still life, its ingredients the subjects of a lovely painting, composed just so atop of a gloss of dressing. Paint the vinaigrette onto a simple white or wooden platter, then place the vegetables, fruits, and cheese – as fresh and ripe as you can find – on top. Scatter some torn herbs and season it all generously with salt and pepper. Voilá…a gorgeous salad-scape to capture summer’s final blooms.

Lately I’ve been making this salad every week — sometimes with feta instead of burrata, sometimes topped with roasted pine nuts or grilled corn or coconut bacon (score a bag here or make your own). The malt vinaigrette has a pub-style punch, and rest assured you’ll reach for malt vinegar again and again (I use it on fish + chips, lentil soup, and gazpacho, too).

The beauty of the bottom-up approach is that each ingredient gets front and center stage while staying crisp and beautiful, even while basking in the heat. And as we return to our hectic routines and jam-packed days, I’m all for keeping composed.

Join me in the Farmgirl Kitchen for a fun morning of good food and good company! Seats are almost gone. More information here and sign-ups here.


late summer season salad

Photo credit: Audrey Slatkin


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