Mark Bittman recently released an impressive list of fresh combinations in 101 Simple Salads for the Season. Some highlights, in my opinon, include: # 10, starring roasted tomatoes, arugula, mint, and curry powder; #29, featuring cherries, endives, balsamic vinegar, and hazelnuts; #53, a combo of beets, tahini, yogurt, and lemon juice; #87, with cold noodles, peanut butter, lime, coconut milk, and chili.
The list was so extensive and the ingredients so bountiful, I may even be emulating one of his savory selections in my own version of a unique summer salad. The key to any of them, of course, is using fresh ingredients and balanced flavors. I more often than not just take whatever I have and figure out how to make it work. The plum in this salad was just tart enough to balance out the maple on the walnuts and the sweetness of the bell pepper.
Petite Plum and Maple Walnut Salad
- 1/4 Cup walnuts and walnut halves
- 1 T maple syrup
- sea salt
- Arugula, enough for two salads
- Four small freshly-picked tart plums
- A handful of mint
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
Mix walnuts, maple syrup, and sea salt together on a toaster oven tray or a piece of aluminum. Toast until crispy and brown. For salad, slice all ingredients and layer everything over the arugula. Use dressing and more black pepper as needed.
Dressing: Mix olive oil and rice wine vinegar for a supremely simple coating for an already flavorful salad.