Living in France changes you. I now own far too many scarves and mariniéres (the classic long-sleeved blue and white sailor tees). I use fleur de sel on practically everything, and when it comes to salads, I often eat them at the end of the meal instead of the beginning.
Also like the French, I don’t always think of a salad as something that’s lettuce-centric — although in France, all lettuce is called “salade.” Go figure.
This is my favorite season for salads of all sorts, leafy and non. Summer fruits are here and ready to be tossed on top of lightly dressed greens, served on the side of whatever you’ve just pulled off the grill or eaten afterward in lieu of a dessert, if you’re feeling Frenchy.
What I’m trying to say is these salads can be anything you want them to be.
Plus, and this is really burying the lede, they are incredibly, ridiculously simple to make. So much so that I actually wondered if I should try to make some of these salads more complicated. But I didn’t. There’s no reason to.
When the ingredients themselves taste this good, you want the fruits to shine. The trick is not doing too much and not complicating a recipe with components that are already so delicious.
So much about cooking well is about restraint — knowing when to leave things alone — and I find this to be especially true in the summer, when flavors are bright and clean and full of life.
Some of my best food memories are the simplest — biting into the summer’s first peach, eating an entire box of raspberries while walking home from the market, harvesting my own basil for pesto — which is how I approach summer eating overall, from salads to desserts.
Even when a salad is the dessert and all sorts of fruit mixed up in a bowl is a salad, not “une salade.”