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A Formula for All Future Summer Salads

I could eat this everyday, and never get sick of it.
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In the months leading up to our three-month kitchen renovation, I took account of all the inconveniences we'd face: Not having access to a stove, kitchen sink, or dishwasher; moving our coffee setup to our dining room floor; inconvenient access to a refrigerator. What I didn't anticipate was how much it would shake up our dinner routine—in a good way. For the most part, not having a kitchen has meant we've moved most of our cooking outside, to the grill. For the past several weeks, my favorite dish has been a variation on a salad Geoffrey makes. It's so simple, we don't even have a recipe for it and rely mostly on what looks best on the market, but I embarrass myself with just how enthusiastically I dig into it each night. (And this is coming from someone who's decidedly not a salad enthusiast.) Here's how we make it:

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Start with a bed of flavorful lettuce, like a gem or red leaf lettuce. Iceberg is great for some salads, but you want something richer in flavor, and maybe a touch of bitterness, here.

This part is key, and an opportunity to get creative with whatever's in season—the more, the better. In the past, we've added avocado, tomato, and some peaches, then grilled corn and asparagus, loosely inspired by The Ivy's famous roasted vegetable salad. You really can't go wrong here—just add whatever looks best to you from the farmers' market or grocery store!

To bolster the salad, we generally add some kind of protein, like chicken apple sausage or grilled shrimp. Next up, we're planning on adding skirt steak! (You can see why this is one of those salads you could make a million times and literally never get sick of it.)

Finally, we toss it all in a large metal salad bowl with G's signature vinaigrette, which is flavorful without overpowering the taste of the other ingredients. Normally, we just eyeball it, but I asked G to share the proportions he uses:

1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (or any vinegar you prefer)
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Large pinch salt
A few grinds fresh pepper
(Optional) 1 Calabrian chili

Place everything in a mini-Cuisinart and whip it together, or add all ingredients, except the oil, into a large bowl, then actively whisk in the oil. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy! x

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