Earlier this month I enjoyed a visit from a dear friend and her son from Maine. Liz, in addition to being a mom, wife, teacher, doctoral candidate and Red Sox fan, is a terrific cook. During her visit, she offered to whip up a salad one night, and it was amazing.
The recipe is essentially hers, but to give credit where credit is due, she admits to adapting it from a dish she tried at Jerry Remy's Sports Bar & Grill, which is located in Boston, right behind Fenway Park. She tried it earlier this year when she and her husband took their son to his first game at Fenway.
Remy played for New England's finest and has been the "voice of the Red Sox" as the TV announcer on New England Sports Net. (Note to Phillies fans: I attempted to persuade her to take Jonathan Paplebon back to the Red Sox in exchange for Shane Victorino, but she assured me, they do not want him back.)
Her son, Liam, who is 5, is a huge baseball fan, and while he was visiting, taught me to throw a fast ball, split finger fast ball, curve ball and a knuckle ball. He is a very patient 5-year-old. Unfortunately, my talents are more closely aligned with the kitchen than the baseball diamond.
Back to the salad: This is another dish that encompasses all the best flavors of summer watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers and giving it that Maine twist, blueberries.
It has a light flavorful dressing and gets its kick from a sprinkling of salty toasted almonds and blue cheese crumbles.
It's terrific and you don't even have to be a baseball fan to love it.
Liz also shared another recipe, this one for a healthy cauliflower dish. I didn't get to try it, but here it is. Let me know what you think.
Liz's Red Sox Salad
Serves 4 main dish or 8 side dish
1 large bag or box of fresh arugula
4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
2 cups yellow cherry or pear tomatoes, sliced in half
1 pint of blueberries, washed and drained
Half cup sliced almonds, toasted in olive oil and a pinch of sea salt
Half cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
Half teaspoon poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch ginger
Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette, then toss half the dressing with the watermelon. Reserve remaining dressing.
Peel the cucumber, then cut in half lengthwise and removed the center section including all the seeds. Slice into half-inch pieces.
On individual plates, arrange a bed of arugula, then top with a half cup of seedless, cubed watermelon, a quarter cup yellow cherry tomatoes, a handful of blueberries and cucumbers, and about 1 tablespoon each of almonds and blue cheese. Drizzle with remaining dressing.
Makes about 8 servings.
1 large head cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
one-eighth cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon capers
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle half the oil over the cauliflower and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and cook until golden (fork should slide in and out easily) about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile (and Liz says this is the good part!), combine lemon, garlic and oil and a saucepan and cook slowly for 15 minutes. Pour over cauliflower, add capers and toss.
To dress this dish up for company, you can add some chopped scallions to the hot mixture near the end of the cooking time, then toss.