This past week there has been enough of a pronounced chill in the air to declare that fall is officially on its way. I've been reminded how I love a good chunky scarf, and a pullover sweater on cool evenings, and being able to go for long walk without loosing half my body-weight in sweat. And I've also been reminded how much I miss New York; if D.C. has the market cornered on spring, then New York is all about fall.
I want to go for long walks on concrete nature-less streets and then appreciate the man-made beauty that is Central Park; I want to buy cheap jewelry from a stand near Astor Place and meet a friend for a stroll around the Guggenheim, to tuck into a coffee shop and then sit there for hours with a book before taking the subway home.
When I left New York, a friend made the good observation that it takes a certain amount of maturity to leave New York- it's true, I no longer have the young ambitious desire to go to the big city, and I recognize that I may well end up there again. And I like my life in D.C. now, but this week I missed New York.
The one thing I would do if I were in New York is to go wander the Greenmarket, much as I wander Eastern Market or Dupont Circle's market now. And I would probably be reminded, as I was this past weekend, that though fall may be in the air, summer produce is still on its last gasp. There's nothing like a summer tomato, an ear of sweet white corn, perfectly crunchy cucumbers, and herbs from your garden, and there's nothing like that first rush of fall air to make you gather up the last of that summer produce before it's gone for the year. So here's an end-of-summer salad, chock full of whatever you find in the market, with a little avocado and cheese to spruce it up. It's the kind of thing that should be as local possible, no matter where your local may be.
End of Summer Chopped Salad
The key to this salad, besides the best produce your market has to offer, is to get a good balance between softer items (like tomatoes, avocado) and crunchy ones (like corn, onion, and cucumber). Sauteed summer squash, sliced radishes, scallions, and other herbs would be other options to play around with.
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium-size summer tomato, cut in wedges
1 ear corn, shucked and blanched
about 1/4 cup halved and sliced cucumber
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
drizzle of olive oil, pinch of kosher salt
half a ripe avocado, diced
juice of one lime or half a lemon
goat cheese or feta
tiny basil leaves
1. Place tomatoes in the bottom of the serving bowl. Cut the corn kernels from the cob into the bowl. Sprinkle cucumber and red onion over the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt over salad, toss together to coat. Place the diced avocado over the salad. Squeeze lime juice directly over salad (this should also keep the avocado from browning). Sprinkle cheese over top and scatter basil leaves over. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.