The Salads of Summer

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BY SCOTT PATRICK MYERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Take advantage of abundant, fresh, seasonal produce at its most delicious and nutritious this summer. When recipes are this colorful and tempting, it’s easy to fill your diet with low-calorie, antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and even edible flowers!

Jamie Bryant with Blue Bell Farm of Fayette says it all starts with the soil. Blue Bell uses only natural products that have been approved for organic production.

Look for organic produce at your favorite farmers market — or better yet, grow it yourself in your own garden. Take inspiration from these healthy salad recipes and start cooking up the delicious dishes of summer.

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad With Edible Flowers & Infused Herb Vinaigrette
Serves 4

6 medium or 12 baby heirloom beets (assorted colors)
6 cups torn greens (one type or an assortment)
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for roasting
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
⅓ cup herbs (chives, basil, tarragon, mint or any you prefer)
4 ounces plain Goatsbeard Farm fresh goat cheese
Mixed edible flower garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and place them in a heavy casserole dish. Drizzle beets with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and roast, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until you can pierce them easily with a thin-bladed knife. Remove beets from oven and set aside to cool. Once the beets have cooled, peel them by rubbing off the skins under cool running water. Cut into thin slices or wedges.

Rinse and dry the greens and put them in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in ⅓ cup olive oil until it is emulsified and appears thick and creamy. (You can also just throw everything into a jar, screw on the lid and shake until emulsified.) Tear herbs into small pieces and add with shallots to vinaigrette. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Strain vinaigrette through a fine sieve into a small, clean bowl, pressing on the herbs to extract liquid.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Pour some dressing onto the greens and toss to coat; pile the greens on individual plates. Place beets in the bowl, toss with dressing and arrange them on top of or around the greens. Top with crumbled goat cheese and garnish with a scattering of edible flowers.

Cucumber & Pea Shoot Salad With Edible Flowers & Strawberry Vinaigrette

½ cup chopped local strawberries
⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup nut oil (walnut or almond)
1 tablespoon local honey
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups mixed greens
1 medium cucumber, sliced paper thin
2 cups pea shoots
4 ounces Goatsbeard Farm feta cheese (crumbled)
Mixed edible flower garnish

Wash strawberries, remove tops and toss into a blender with vinegar, oil, honey, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Using a mandoline or sharp chef’s knife, slice cucumber into paper-thin slices.

Mix pea shoots and greens and add cucumber slices. Toss lightly with strawberry vinaigrette and fresh cracked pepper. Top with crumbled feta and garnish with flowers.

Kitchen Notes From Jamie
Edible flowers can be used for baking, and in sauces, oils and vinegars. Here are Jamie Bryant’s favorite edible flowers, with notes on a couple of rules.

  • Introduce flowers into your diet the way you would introduce new foods to a baby — one at a time, in small quantities.
  • Eat only flowers that have been grown organically and that you are positive are edible and nontoxic.

 

Herbs With Edible Flowers

Basil
Borage
Chamomile
Dill
Lavender
Mint
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme

Ornamental Plants With Edible Flowers

Bachelor Button
Calendula
Daylily
Garden Phlox
Marigold
Nasturtium
Peony

Growing Organic
Planting fresh vegetables is easier than you think! You don’t have to have a full-fledged garden space; start with container gardening and easy-to-grow vegetables such as tomatoes.

Jamie Bryant at Blue Bell Farm starts warm-weather seeds using the soil-block method. Soil blocks are created from natural ingredients that have been approved for organic production — peat moss, sand, topsoil, compost, greensand, lime, rock phosphate and blood meal.

Hint: Some local farms sell their extra soil block-grown transplants at the Columbia Farmers Market.

 

About Blue Bell Farm
Jamie Bryant and her husband, Derek, belong to the seventh generation of farmers operating Blue Bell Farm just 25 minutes from Columbia. They specialize in produce and herbs grown through organic practices, pastured eggs, grass-finished beef and on-farm events. Find them at the Columbia Farmers Market or online at www.bluebellfarm.org.

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