Summer Salad — of Sorts

Every summer, I seem to gravitate towards blogging about the notion of a summer salad. In 2013, it was Yotam Ottolengthi’s Watermelon & Feta Salad. In 2014, I made the tabbouleh from this Lebanese Luncheon on more than one occasion. In 2015, I do declare that this Roasted Garlic & Summer Squash mash-up is the one. 

A couple weekends ago, my family from Virginia ventured up for a visit. Fortunately, I was able to duck out of work early enough to pick up my family’s CSA share from the local farm. New Jersey, despite the potshots that are hurled its way, boasts some of the best homegrown fruits and vegetables imaginable. Jersey tomatoes, corn, blueberries (NJ’s State Fruit: ranks first in terms of production and second in total acres harvested), and peaches more than hold their own when pitted (no pun) against other states’ crops. I would like to note that these blueberry facts were completely unbeknownst to me until minutes ago — we’re all learning here.

Back to the plot. While at the CSA, I was able to collect everything from husk cherries to summer squash in the form of golden zucchini. In addition to the 6 pounds I was allotted, the farm also showcased a basket of “squash rejects”, of which I dutifully reached in and grabbed an ample helping before heading home. There is no greater feeling than walking away from a local farm in the summertime, harvest in hand, with a number of recipes swirling about in your head before they even come to fruition. The ingredients found within this salad are open to your own interpretation – add any and all fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices.

This Roasted Garlic & Summer Squash salad features Jersey’s ripest tomatoes, summer squash, onions, and garlic. A touch of red pepper flakes, the loyal tandem of S&P, chopped garden-fresh basil, and a bit of oil blend these summer flavors together at one fell swoop.  I generally do most of my roasting of vegetables in the fall and winter, but I now know not to underestimate the power of doing so in the summer months. The final addition of parmesan doesn’t hurt this one, either. Thanks, Mom.

Roasted Garlic & Summer Squash
Recipe adapted from SweetBasil’s version on allrecipes.com
4 servings

2 zucchini cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch half moons
2 cups quartered, ripe tomatoes
1/2 red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Pepper, to taste
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. freshly chopped basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Combine the zucchini, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Place in preheated oven. Roast until vegetables are tender and slightly golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and basil.

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