Summer Salad Dinner Menu
Coastal Cobb Salad
Layered salads are great for entertaining—and this one is no different. It uses shrimp in place of the classic bacon for a cobb salad that's a little brighter, fresher, and perfect for the beach or any summer gathering. If you don't have buttermilk, you can make your own by thinning yogurt with a little bit of milk (or water in a pinch). You can assemble the salad up to eight hours in advance, making sure to keep the dressing separate until you're ready to serve.
Green Goddess Chicken Salad
It's important to thinly slice the kale, otherwise it'll lead to a tough-to-chew salad. An easy way to do this is by stacking a few of the de-stemmed leaves on top of one other, rolling them into a cylinder, and thinly slicing the leaves. Serve leftovers on croissants, in collard green wraps, with garlic toast, or on their own.
Farro, Heirloom Tomato, and Peach Salad
Nutty grains, peak-season produce, and sweet stone fruit make this pretty salad an ideal side for simple roasted chicken or sautéed salmon. Ricotta salata is a pressed, salted, and aged version of ricotta. If it’s difficult to find at the local grocery, substitute feta; however, be aware feta will be a bit saltier. If heirloom tomatoes are not available, opt for whatever looks best and is in season at the market.
Broccoli Salad with Cider Dressing
Add some protein—grilled chicken or quinoa, for example—and pack it for a quick lunch on the beach. Why soak the red onion? It tames the onion's overpowering pungency and spiciness, making it better suited for the salad. Use full-fat Greek yogurt here for the best consistency and flavor (non-fat has a tendency to taste watery).
What to Drink
Silver Trident 2014 “Symphony No. 9” (Napa Valley, $28). The wine’s bright acidity and herbal side love the parsley, chives, and tarragon in the chicken salad; it also has a richness that meets the creamy green goddess dressing and chicken, and the nuts in the broccoli salad.
Tablas Creek 2015 (Adelaida District, Paso Robles; $27). A lovely range of citrus and stone fruit (perfect for shrimp) is balanced by a pithy, savory, almost salty limestone layer that works with the Cobb’s eggs and olives, and even the wildcard mix of buttermilk and blue cheese. Its stone fruit flavors work with the peaches in the farro salad, while the savory side likes the tomatoes.
– Sara Schneider