It never fails. With the warm weather, impromptu entertaining is about as likely as the rising mercury. It’s the impromptu get-togethers, the “Hey, why don’t you come over for cocktails?’ that make summer so memorable. There isn’t another season where living in the moment and just enjoying yourself is more appropriate; summer is meant to be spontaneous and simple.
However, if you’re inviting a few friends over on the spur of the moment, or, if your being invited, you need something to serve or bring along. The great thing about summer food is that it really is simple and with the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables readily available, preparing something fresh and satisfying takes less time than heat-proofing your hair and makeup. The other added bonus of summer dining is that we tend to prefer lighter dishes which lend themselves to less time in the kitchen.
So, the next time you decide to have a few friends over for an impromptu get together and some well-deserved conversation, pick up a few simple ingredients and serve this fresh tomato, feta and cucumber salad along with a loaf of crusty French bread and a bowl of fresh strawberries.
Tomato Salad with Cucumbers and Feta
4-5 large ripe tomatoes
1-2 handfuls colorful cherry tomatoes
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley, stems removed
salt and pepper
1. Slice tomatoes into thick slices and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter and sprinkle with salt. Allow the tomatoes to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Mix together chopped cucumbers and Italian parsley. Lightly dress with a few sprinkles of Champagne vinegar and a good drizzle of olive oil.
3. Spoon cucumber mixture on top of tomatoes.
4. Crumble feta cheese and place it on top of the cucumbers.
5. Generously top with fresh ground pepper.
6. Serve with thick slices of crusty bread and additional olive oil
Melanie Bryant is a writer obsessed with food. When sheâ€™s not writing about her latest culinary adventures, she spends her time working in the garden, collecting cookbooks, and hanging out at the local farmerâ€™s market. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. "You Had Me at Butter" (www.buttermelup.blogspot.com) is her blog where she writes about all things food.