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Summer salads

So many lettuces, so little time: That’s the way summer makes me feel about salad. For a whole new spin on salad that places it front and center of the meal, check out these refreshing summer salad recipes.

Summer Salad

Cucumber and Melon Salad

Serves 6

This salad adds a perfect complement of cool sweetness to any barbecued pork, chicken or beef dish. Adapted with permission from Baja! Cooking on the Edge, by Deborah M. Schneider.Ingredients:
1 large English or hothouse cucumber (about 3 cups)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ripe cantaloupe (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup crème fraîcheDirections:
Cut the cucumber into 1/4-inch slices, toss with salt, and set aside for 1 hour. Peel and seed the melon; cut into pieces the same size as the cucumber. Drain the melon and cucumbers, then pat dry with a towel. Make sure they are not wet; otherwise, the salad will lose its crispness. Combine the melon and cucumber, and toss with sugar and vinegar. Add the herbs and chill in the refrigerator until very cold. Add the crème fraîche just before serving.

Not Your Average Tuna Salad

Serves 6

2 cans albacore white meat tuna in water
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dill pickles, chopped fine
1/4 cup pickled onions, chopped fine
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons peeled, chopped apples
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoningDirections:
Mix all ingredients and serve on bread as a sandwich or on lettuce as a straight salad.

Belgian endive, pear, fennel, and walnuts salad

Serves 4A rich salad that can serve as the main meal, this recipe is adapted with permission from Joyce Goldstein’s Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-And-Match Dressings.Ingredients:
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
4 medium heads Belgian endive
2 small bulbs fennel
6 small, ripe figs, cut into quarters
1/2 cup Roquefort or blue cheese dressing (store bought)Directions:
Toss the nuts in a small bowl with a few tablespoons of the dressing; let sit to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the root ends from the endive and separate the leaves. Cut the fennel bulbs in half, remove the tough outer leaves, cut out the cores, and slice the bulbs thinly. Combine the endive leaves and fennel in a large salad bowl. Toss with half the remaining dressing. Divide equally among four salad plates. Arrange the pears over the endive and fennel. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and top with the walnuts. Serve immediately.

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