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A Taste of Pure Summer

 

Nothing makes me feel all warm and summery like a seasonal main course salad, except maybe one served with a glass of wine. This grilled vegetable salad with tomato seed vinaigrette is perhaps the most celebratory of all. I love grilling snow peas or sugar snap peas, and the radicchio makes the salad seem fancier than it really is.

 

The acidic sweetness of heirloom tomatoes in the vinaigrette really takes this salad to a different field of flavor. Whisked with vinegar, thyme, red pepper flakes and mustard seeds, it’s my go to summer dressing for vegetables and meats alike. If you’re like most eaters, the word mustard conjures up images of barbecues and baseball games. So for the vegetarians attending your Labor Day cookout, you’ve really knocked it out of the ballpark with this recipe. There’s much more to mustard seeds than just that nostalgic fragrance, however. I relish the rustic, spicy, aromatic taste they add to the char of these grilled veggies.

 

On that note: char is good, incineration is not. It’s such a bummer to show up to a barbecue only to discover burnt food and warm beer. So when I host my Labor Day cookout one of my rules is to keep a plastic spray bottle filled with water near the grill to deal with serious flare-ups. If you’re still a timid home griller, I suggest a grill basket as your secret weapon. Load up whatever you want inside and when you flip the basket, it’s all done in one motion, fuss and erratic flame-free.

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