One of our favorite things about catering Santa Barbara events in the summer is the abundance of fresh summer vegetables from farmer’s markets and our favorite local suppliers.  Fresh produce is abundant and tastes extra rich and robust this time of year.

There is nothing more welcoming on a hot summer day than a light but filling  meal that tastes great , or an accompaniment to something on the grill- or for those summer potlucks, bringing a summer “work of art” for people to feast their eyes and palettes on.  Here is a favorite recipe of ours:  Summer Fresh Vegetable Salad.  The best part of all? It takes under 30 minutes from start to finish!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon snipped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup fresh green beans cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup fresh asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup torn spinach
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup enoki mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded mustard greens or curly endive
  • 1 small summer squash, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • Edible flowers (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh tarragon
Directions

1. In a screw-top jar, combine white wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, marjoram, tarragon, capers, oregano, dill, mustard, pepper, and sugar. Cover and shake well.

2. Cook green beans in a small amount of boiling water for 6 minutes. Add carrot; return to boiling and cook 2 minutes. Add asparagus and peas; return to boiling and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Drain well. Rinse with cold water.

3. Combine spinach, fennel, tomato, mushrooms, mustard greens or curly endive, summer squash, cucumber, and radishes in a large bowl or container. Add cooked vegetables and dressing. Toss well to coat all vegetables. For a picnic or potluck, cover and transport in an insulated cooler with ice packs.

4. To serve, garnish with edible flowers, if desired. Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings.

Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens