Heirloom Tomato & Grilled Focaccia Bread Salad

The beauty of this summery salad is in its simplicity: Be sure to use good-quality olive oil and season generously!

Ingredients:
4 cups focaccia bread, cut into large cubes
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
½ cup good-quality olive oil
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
¼ cup freshly-crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Toss the focaccia cubes with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Grill the bread cubes until lightly charred, turning frequently with tongs. (A grill basket works well for this if you have it; otherwise watch that you don’t lose the croutons down the grate!) Remove from the grill and reserve.

2. On a large platter, arrange the heirloom tomato slices and drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped basil, feta and grilled bread croutons and drizzle with another swirl of olive oil and, if desired, balsamic vinegar as well.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Feta

A true homage to summer, this salad from The Splendid Table is cool, crisp and juicy.

Ingredients:
2 medium English cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1½ cups ripe Tuscan melon, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
¼ cup mint leaves, torn
1 heaping tablespoon finely-chopped scallion tops
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon high-quality olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt, roll up the pieces in a double thickness of paper towel and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Unwrap and pat dry.

2. Rub a serving bowl with the garlic. Add the cucumber, melon, mint, scallions, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of oil. Gently combine. Season to taste with more oil or vinegar, salt and pepper.

3. Top with the crumbled cheese and eat immediately.

Treviso Radicchio Salad with Feta

This is one of those salads that hits all four flavors—bitter, salty, sweet and sour, all in one bite.

Ingredients:
1 large head Treviso radicchio
¼ cup pitted dates
4 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Method:
1. Separate the leaves of the radicchio and rinse and dry thoroughly, then chop the leaves into large chunks. Place in a large serving bowl.

2. Slice the dates into long slivers and sprinkle over the radicchio. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes, then drizzle the olive oil over. Squeeze the lime juice and crumble the feta cheese over everything, and grind pepper freshly from a pepper mill. Toss and serve immediately.

Roasted Potato Salad with Sweet Corn, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Fresh Basil

This room temperature salad will be a hit at your next barbecue. (Plus, it’s a snap to prep ahead!)

Ingredients:
3 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and halved or quartered if large
¼ cup minced parsley
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet corn kernels, cut from the cob
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

For dressing:
½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the potatoes in a heavy roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, stir to coat. Salt and pepper generously and add chopped parsley. Roast the potatoes until tender and starting to brown, turning once or twice, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

2. When potatoes have cooled, combine together with the corn kernels and sun-dried tomatoes.

3. For the dressing, combine the ½ cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Toss the potato mixture enough dressing to coat lightly. Stir in the basil and feta cheese gently, season with salt and pepper and garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.

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