Getting ready for the Salad Season
~ Fantastique Jam Jar French Dressing ~
The weather has been positively balmy lately, and the mercury has been soaring……it seems that “Wet May” has disappeared and we will soon be into “Flaming June”, which coincidently is the name of one of my favourite paintings by Lord Frederic Leighton. This Victorian painter belonged to the “aesthetic” movement. He specialised in mythological subjects where mood and atmosphere, as well as physical beauty took precedence over story or allegories. The painting, in the form of a poster, hangs in countless homes throughout the country no doubt, and is either liked or loathed in equal measure. Sentimental and “kitsch” it may be perhaps, but I am drawn to the sensual shape of a slumbering woman, who is clothed in a dress of finest gossamer, whilst the “gauzy” folds and creases almost echo the heat, just as the predominate colour of orange shimmers and flames, and one senses an overriding sense of languor and mystery.
It’s a voluptuous painting of curves and soft folds……it really does epitomise a hot summer’s day in the garden…….where bees hum and aeroplanes leave fluffy white vapour trails in a sparkling blue sky, and time almost stands still……..it’s evocative of Mediterranean holidays and days where idleness is encouraged. But back to my hot kitchen, and hot is has been; when the temperatures rise I am in salad mode; I eat salads all year around, but never more when all thoughts if hot, steamed veggies seem heavy and just too hot! There is definitely a salad season, and for me it runs from April to September; it’s the seasonal aspect that makes salad season so alluring. Salads out of season may seem appropriate at the time, but nothing beats locally grown produce where the bloom of the heat is still evident on plump red tomatoes or cool green lettuces……
Over the next few weeks I shall be sharing some of my salad recipes; from simple tomato and herb salads to Moroccan Tabbouleh……there will be fruit salads and fruit IN savoury salads, and each salad can be eaten as a meal in its own right, as well as being a fabulous accompaniment for grilled meats and fish. I also have some lovely potato salad recipes, both hot and cold. And what is needed with a great salad? Well, most of them would JUST be SO under-dressed without a good dressing – and that’s why I am officially starting salad season with one of my favourite dressing recipes, Fantastique Jam Jar French Dressing. This is a very easy French Dressing with a few twists. It’s a make ahead recipe with a yield of about 250 mls or 1/4 pint; it keeps for about 7 to 10 days with no problems at all. The oil content in this recipe is considerably lower than most classic French dressings – making it a healthier option, plus you know what has gone into it.
So in order to get ahead, why not make a batch of this dressing now, it is also fabulous when drizzled over new potatoes and grilled vegetables, as well as being served as a dipping sauce for bread. Flaming June I am hoping it may be, but be cool, be sultry and embrace your salad side this summer! I will be back with my meal plan for Monday, another secret recipe club post, as well as salads and barbecue fish recipes……see you later and enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Karen