In what seems like a long time ago, and a place now far away, Mike and I finally up and decided to move. We’d been wanting to for years, my job search in Florida was going nowhere and had been that way for awhile, and we really wanted a change of pace. We were in a rut. So, we picked a date based on our apartment lease end date, bought tickets, sold most of what we owned, and fled sunny Florida for rainy Seattle.
So here we are! I’m typing this from our new apartment in Ballard, surrounded by boxes in various states of unpacked. It feels good to cook again, with all of my kitchen equipment, pots, knives, spices – and the quality of ingredients here has been phenomenal so far. Everything tastes fresh, rich, full-flavored. I was even swooning over the cabbage I bought at the farmer’s market.
So, to celebrate the abundance of summer produce, I put together a salad that highlights it. Fresh Rainier cherries, sweet fennel, roasted green beans – they all also are refreshing and light for these afternoons where the temperature in the apartment actually climbs into the mid 80s, since most residences here don’t have central air. So as not to mask the flavors of the fruit and vegetables, I dressed the salad with a simple shallot vinaigrette, also adding a little allium flavor without big pieces of onion. I used a cheese that’s made here in Seattle, at Pike Place Market, called Beecher’s Flagship. You can often find it in the fancy cheese section at grocery stores across the country (I even saw it at Publixes in Florida), but you can substitute it with a nutty, full flavored cheese such as Manchego or Swiss.
So, we have landed and have hit the ground running. The kitties are adapting, we’re already complaining that it’s too hot when it’s 79F for a high, and we’re just loving the city.
Seattle Summer Salad
1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground fennel seed, optional
1 head red or green leaf lettuce
1 medium fennel bulb
1 lb. cherries
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
4 oz. Beecher’s Flagship cheese, or any nutty cheese (Manchego or Swiss would work well)
Combine the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside. This will make more dressing than you will use in this salad, the leftovers may be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Pre-heat the oven to 375. Spread the green beans on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 30 minutes, or until beginning to brown on the edges. Remove and allow to cool.
While the green beans are roasting, toast the hazelnuts in a nonstick pan, pit and halve the cherries, and shred the cheese. Chop and wash the lettuce, and thinly slice the fennel either with a mandolin or a very sharp knife.
When all of the ingredients are assembled, toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Divide between four plates, making sure the heavier ingredients are equally divided.