Summer is all about S A L A D S !
Well as you may already know from my Instagram stories, the whole year is all about salads for me, but there is something particularly sensational about fresh summer salads, especially when those salads are made with local ingredients.
As highlighted in Buzz Words Defined: A definition of “organic”, “local”, “seasonal” and “pasture-raised” foods, and why I prefer them, focusing on local, seasonal, and unsprayed / naturally grown produce isn’t just about smug trendiness. You’re actually getting a significantly more nutrient-dense, not to mention flavourful, culinary experience. Plus, sourcing local supports your at-home economy, and can even be more budget-friendly when said seasonal items are in abundance and farmers offer sales to push them through. Add to all that the environmentally friendly component of sourcing as local as possible, and you’ve got yourself some pretty solid motivation to experiment with the bounty of your surroundings!
Speaking of motivation…this seriously simple and fabulously foolproof summer salad is an easy way to incorporate some of the flavourful offerings of the mid-to-late summer season in BC (and perhaps wherever you’re reading this, too). Zucchini, cherry tomatoes, corn, and basil all grow readily at this time of year, and together with some zesty pine nuts and smooth maple balsamic reduction, create a beautiful bowl that fits perfectly within your favourite BBQ spread.
I sourced all of the ingredients for this at Thrifty Foods Broadmead in Victoria, where (like all Thrifty Foods), they source local first. They’re wonderfully transparent about the regions, and even specific farms, the items come from, and celebrate local vendors by sharing information about their businesses throughout their stores. It’s no secret that I love learning about where my food comes from, and their newly renovated space makes navigating this a breeze! Not to mention the fact that the produce section is a feast for the eyes, making shopping for all your local, seasonal, and delicious ingredients that much more delightful. In fact, until August 28th, Thrifty Foods Broadmead will be hosting a customer appreciation event to showcase all the latest additions to the space. I know I’ll be there likely stocking up on more local seasonal veggies to make more big beautiful abundant summertime salads, and I hope to see you there too!
Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Grilled Corn, Pine Nuts, and Fresh Basil
Prep time: about 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
Kitchen Tools Needed
Spiralizer (mine is Westmark’s “Spiromat”)
4 small zucchinis (or 3 medium)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large ears of corn, husked
½ cup pine nuts (raw)
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for grilling)
Salt + pepper to taste
In a medium sized saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, whisking well to combine.
Bring to a full boil, then turn the heat down to a simmering boil (you’ll continue to see small bubbles on the surface).
Allow the maple balsamic mix to reduce in half, until it coats the back of a spoon (about 20-30 minutes).
While the maple balsamic mix is reducing, lightly coat your corn with olive oil, and grill on low-to-medium heat until you have golden brown grill-marks throughout and the corn is no longer raw. *Note: Depending on whether you’re using a BBQ or a grilling pan on your stovetop, you’ll want to rotate the corn consistently for about 5-10 minutes to ensure an even cook.
Once the corn is cooked, remove from the grill and set aside to cool fully, then carefully slice the grilled corn kernels off the cobb, and set aside.
Trim and spiralize your zucchini on the ribbon (i.e. thicker) setting, and place the ribbons in a large mixing bowl.
Toss the ribbons with the rest of the olive oil, and a light sprinkling salt and pepper.
Gently mix in the cherry tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, and corn.
Place salad in a shallow serving bowl, drizzle with the balsamic reduction, and serve!