Photo: Samar Halarnkar
Photo: Samar Halarnkar

Summer special: In the light of summer

Our food columnist gathers seasonal ingredients and family recipes to create a special salad for Lounge

Summer in Bengaluru is when the gulmohar trees turn flame red, the branches of mango trees bend with the weight of the fruit, the days are warm, and cooling evening showers sweep the city. A good summer salad must reflect the season and use its bounty—that is a mantra we have tried to use wherever we have lived. My family’s summer salad is light and airy, and always uses fresh, seasonal ingredients and minimalist dressing.

We arrived at this combination by instinct and error. The first thing to get right is the dressing. I often find salads in restaurants distasteful because they are all too often overdressed and limp. All you really need for a dressing is good-quality balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil. Sometimes, we dispense with the oil altogether.

We use as a base romaine lettuce because it is firm and crisp, unlike iceberg, which tends to wilt. Other ingredients are few. If you like your salads colourful, use contrasts, such as cherry tomatoes—or regular tomatoes, deseeded—with mango. You can substitute mango with pomegranate or strawberry.

Don’t hesitate to experiment but remember to keep it simple and remember the season. When you lift your salad to serve, make sure the light of summer gets in.

The Lounge summer salad

Bunch of romaine lettuce, washed and spin-dried; 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved; 1 mango, cut into thin slices (or orange, sliced strawberries, pomegranate);

1 tsp mixed seeds

For the dressing: 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil; a squeeze of lime

Ensure the lettuce leaves are dry and crisp. Mix in other ingredients and dress with salad.

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