3 fresh summer salads

Chef Paul Finkelstein uses the season’s freshest ingredients for a new take on salads’the perfect dish for entertaining alfresco on hot summer days

3 fresh summer salads

Source: Best Health Magazine, Summer 2009; Photo by Edward Pond

After high school, I saved my pennies, pulled on a backpack and travelled through Europe. I arrived home richer from the experience, though very poor in the pocket. But, using my charm’and previous restaurant experience’I was able to land a job stocking the salad bar and choosing which fresh ingredients to include at a popular local restaurant in Toronto.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of my love affair with salad and its endless possibilities. It was also the start of my career as a chef who believes wholeheartedly that the key to healthy eating is locally sourced fresh ingredients. And while nutritional information has been included with each of the salads below, ‘I also believe that a healthy attitude toward food isn’t about counting calories.

These recipes, which I’ve created exclusively for Best Health readers, are impressive enough to take as your contribution to a barbecue at the neighbours’, or can be enjoyed at home with the kids. In the lazy, hazy days of summer, I prepare a few salads to keep in the fridge for quick, healthy meals (and my wife and kids love them!). Each of these dishes can be made ahead of time’just hold off on the dressing until serving.

Nothing beats the taste of berries in season’and my arugula and strawberry salad celebrates their arrival. One of the requirements of a good salad is incorporating various textures, and this one has it all, with the toasted almonds and creamy goat cheese. To make it as a main course, add four ounces (125 g) of cubed grilled chicken breast to each plate.

The julienne salad is perfect to have in the fridge when it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen. The shrimp can be served cold, or grilled on the barbecue and placed warm on top of the salad.

I’m a big fan of traditional asparagus vinaigrette, but find it hard to store and transport because of the long stalks. Cutting the asparagus into bite-size pieces after grilling them solves the problem. And the addition of smoked trout to this dish provides protein and great flavour.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Arugula & Strawberry Salad
Julienne Salad with Chipotle Shrimp
Grilled Asparagus Vinaigrette

This article was originally titled "Summer Fresh," in the Summer 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.