In our household summer is a time of grand ambition and limitless opportunity. Or so it seems, at the outset, with weeks of unbridled possibility ahead. Notes to self have accumulated steadily since last summer; we’ve got a long list of projects on our hands. THE LIST. In January we’re confident that summer’s long, warm days devoid of school (if not jobs) will be the magic elixir to rejuvenate our procrastination-prone existence with newfound motivation. The story we spin to ourselves goes something like this, “once summer hits we’ll clean out the closets and garage, get into shape, thoroughly weed the garden and repair the drip system. Then begin the bathroom remodel in earnest while working through the family budget. Fix the leaky kitchen faucet and degunk the shower drain. And grow some really fabulous tomatoes, too.” No problem, there’s still plenty of time.
Escarole is a slightly bitter winter lettuce that partners well with other strong flavors—roasted broccoli, tangy pomegranate seeds and a mustardy vinaigrette, for starters. We’ve added lots of pistachio nuts for crunch and a touch of aged Parmesan for flourish. If you can’t find escarole substitute one of its cousins such as frisée or endive. Peppery arugula would be lovely as well. Cauliflower or Romanesco would be a nice addition if you don’t have broccoli on hand.
The colors make this dish a natural choice for a winter holiday table.
Named for the ancient Persian city of Shiraz—reknown for it’s connection to wine, poetry and flowers—this simple salad is best at the height of summer when juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers abound. Persian cucumbers are delicate with few seeds. If your cucumbers have larger seeds, just scoop them out with a spoon and use the remaining flesh. Peeling is not necessary if you’re using organic fruit—much of the nutritional content is concentrated in the skin and seeds.
We think of this vibrant dish as a cousin to guacamole—a chunky, sweet one. Feel free to substitute liberally. By all means add cilantro if you have it, or chopped spinach. Tomato or peaches add to the fun. Maybe something crunchy besides the radish, like diced jicama or daikon per chance? Whatever you do, don’t forget the chips—or warm corn tortillas—for scooping.