While the other side of the world is tucking into autumnal salads, we’re just beginning our season of summer ones. Memorial Day weekend brought along with it some sultry weather, calling for something cool and thrown together with a minimum of fuss. We’re still mining the end of our stores, freshened by additions from the garden. The last of the storage potatoes and freezer peas were gussied up with handfuls of green onions, and a harvest of asparagus paired perfectly with some Northern shrimp, with both dishes finished with a shower of flavorful herbs. A green salad tossed with translucent slices of crispy radishes, and a glass of chilled rosé rounded out this first of many summery meals to come.
Potato and Pea Salad with Green Onions and Mint
2 pounds red fingerling potatoes, steamed and cut crosswise into thin slices
2 cups shelled peas, blanched
1/3 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 to 2 shallots, minced
3 to 6 spring onions, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
– Plunk the cooked potatoes and peas in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and shallots to make a dressing, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add enough dressing to the potatoes and peas to coat, and toss together with the spring onions and mint. Adjust seasonings, adding more olive oil, lemon juice and mustard as necessary. Best when left at room temperature and served the same day.
Northern Shrimp and Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Basil
1 pound peeled Northern shrimp
Large handful of asparagus spears
Grated zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
2 tablespoons minced cutting celery (leaves and thinner stalks)
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
– Poach the shrimp for less than a minute, drain, and rinse briefly with cold water to stop cooking. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl. Take the asparagus and break off their woody ends, and either steam or roast until barely tender. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into thick rounds. Add the cooked asparagus to the shrimp. Whisk together the grated zest, lemon juice, olive oil and creme fraiche. Pour enough dressing over the shrimp and asparagus to coat, and toss together with the celery, basil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Local ingredients: Fingerling potatoes from Heron Pond Farm; shallots and peas from Meadow’s Mirth; Northern shrimp from the F/V Rimrack; asparagus, mesclun, arugula, green onion, cutting celery, and herbs from the garden.