Summer-on-a-Platter Salad by Maria Zizka
This colorful salad celebrates the bounty of ingredients available during the summer. The vegetables in this recipe are only a suggestion. Pay a visit to your local farmers’ market and fill your bag with all the beautiful produce that catches your eye.
4 thick slices country-style bread
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed
Fine sea salt
3 large eggs
⅓ cup (80 ml) buttermilk
6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, plus more if needed
1 large garlic clove
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 ripe avocado, sliced
¼ cup (35 g) roasted bell peppers (store-bought)
3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
12 Castelvetrano olives, pitted
Tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl in 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil and add the bread. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and let cool.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Lower the eggs into the water and cook them for exactly 8 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water, let cool for a few minutes, then peel the eggs.
Combine the buttermilk, basil, and vinegar in a bowl. Using a mortar and pestle or the back of a large knife, pound the garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt to a paste and add it to the bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) oil. Add a few grinds of pepper, then taste the dressing and add a little more salt and/or vinegar if it tastes flat.
Scatter the lettuce across a large platter. Arrange the tomatoes on one side on top of the lettuce and season them generously with salt and pepper. Fan out the avocado next to the tomatoes and season with salt and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Pile the peppers and cucumbers alongside the avocado and season with salt and a splash of olive oil. Cut the boiled eggs into quarters, place them near the tomatoes, and season with salt and lots of pepper. Finally, scatter the olives over everything. Serve the croutons in a bowl and the dressing on the side so you can add as much of each as you prefer.
Excerpted from The Newlywed Table by Maria Zizka (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.