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Salad for Dinner

“I could eat like this every night…”

…to me that’s the highest compliment someone can give when I cook for them. I’m telling you this because lately I’ve been hearing the line way more than usual at my dinner table, usually from my husband, but now even from my two teenagers. And I know why: It’s because it’s the end of August — peak season for corn, tomatoes, beans, greens, beets, cabbage. All I have to do for dinner is throw any combination of them in a bowl, add a protein — a can of tuna, some marinated lentils or beans, a hunk of fresh lump crab meat for the truly blessed —  and toss with a vinaigrette. It’s Salad for Dinner and I could totally eat like that every night! Above is basically a modified Niçoise (minus the olives): Boiled red potatoes, greens, pickled radishes and carrots (leftover from here), minced red onions, snap peas, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and a can of olive-oil-packed tuna.

This was green beans, yellow and red tomatoes, marinated white beans (1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained, then marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh basil for an hour), and some torn fresh mozzarella…

…This one was a little more substantial: Radishes, pickled onions, shredded lettuce, feta, cucumbers, then boiled potatoes that I tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice while they were still warm. (Why do I not always do that?) Not shown: Grilled steak splayed across the top! With so much veg action in the salad, though, we only needed to add a small amount of meat — less than a pound of a strip for four of us, sliced on the bias to be precise. Grilled chicken would be great here, too.

And anyone who has known me for even a minute knows that no summer salad post would be complete without our Salmon Salad. It is by far the most popular dinner in my house. My daughter is leaving for college next week and I’ll bet you can guess what she requested for her send-off meal?