My late mother-in-law, Silvana, always made a salad during the hot summer months that we devoured. Maybe it was because it was the perfect accompaniment to a grilled hamburger or chicken? Or it could have been the sheer simplicity of the dish. Nonetheless, she made a big bowl every time we were all together for a family meal and it’s stuck with me ever since. In this recipe, I’ve elevated her version just a bit with the addition of sweet, summer corn (kept raw) and crunchy cucumbers. She would dress hers with plain old olive oil and red wine vinegar. But here, I’ve made my own homemade, gluten free dressing with a touch of honey, red onions and white balsamic vinegar. I’m telling you, this salad is a keeper all summer long. Pack it up for a picnic, bring it to the beach or serve it poolside. It’s light, refreshing and packs a lovely crunch! I prefer to keep the salad dressing in a mason jar until I’m ready to serve it, which helps to keep the veggies from losing their crunch. Cheers to happy, clean (gluten free) summer eats!
Summer Picnic Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
- 2 ears of sweet summer corn, raw, husks removed
- 2 mini cucumbers, rinsed well, skin left on
- Sliced red onion, to taste
- 4-5 Campari tomatoes (or other sweet tomato), sliced in half
- 2-3 stalks organic celery, including fronds if you have them
- Ricotta Salata cheese, shaved for serving
- Extra virgin olive oil
- White balsamic vinegar*
- About 1 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 tsp. honey (add up to 1 tsp. if you prefer it sweeter)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Step 1 Rinse all of the veggies. In a large bowl, combine the corn kernels, removed from the cobs, tomatoes, slices of onion, celery, chopped, cucumbers, cut into coins.
- Step 2 Toss with a large spoon.
- Step 3 In a small, 6-ounce mason jar, add the chopped red onion to the bottom.
- Step 4 Add about 3 ounces of olive oil and 1 ounce of vinegar (usually dressings are a 1:3 ratio of acid to fat).
- Step 5 Add the honey, salt and pepper. Put the lid back on the jar tightly and shake it very well, until everything is combined and the dressing is emulsified.
- Step 6 Before serving, pour on some of the dressing and add shavings of Ricotta Salata.
*Note: I prefer to use a regular white balsamic for this type of dressing, rather than a thick balsamic that’s more of a syrup consistency. I used Colavita white balsamic vinegar for this recipe.