3 Times Thursday - Summer Salads

For this week's 3 Times Thursday, grab some fresh summer produce from your own garden or buy from your local farmer. July in New England has some of the year's best pickings. Get creative with your ingredients and have a satisfying summer salad for lunch. Here are three of our favorite salad recipes to inspire you. 

3. Watermelon Salad with Bleu Cheese, Pancetta and Basil - Nothing says summer quite like watermelon. In this recipe, we use local yellow watermelon, sharp bleu cheese, crispy pancetta and fresh ribbons of basil to make a unique summer salad.

8 ounces pancetta, diced
1 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
2 tablespoons crumbled bleu cheese
1/8 cup basil, chiffonade
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper

Cook pancetta until crisp; drain on paper towels. Arrange watermelon on a chilled plate. Top with pancetta, bleu cheese and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, season to taste with pepper.

2. Roasted Tomato, Fennel and White Bean Salad - Fresh cherry tomatoes burst with sweetness when paired with savory fennel, spicy oregano and starchy beans in this easy salad that is perfect served at room temperature. 

1 large bulb of fennel (also called anise)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups grape and/or cherry tomatoes 
2 large fresh oregano sprigs
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 15-ounce can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the fennel into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet, then add the fennel pieces; sprinkle with salt. Cook over medium heat until the fennel browns and softens, turning occasionally, about ten minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, garlic slices, red pepper, and black pepper. Toss together gently and transfer skillet to heated oven. Bake for 25 minutes, then mix in the beans. Bake five minutes longer to heat through. Serve at room temperature.

1. Burrata Salad with Strawberries, Basil and Marcona Almonds - Burrata is a fresh cheese with an outer layer of mozzarella that envelops an interior of beautiful cream. Try it with any in-season berries and herbs.

2 balls burrata cheese
4 strawberries, hulled and slices
4 basil leaves, chiffonade
6 Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Arrange cheese and strawberries in a dish. Sprinkle with basil and almonds, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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