The thing about September is that it is basically the calm before the storm: The Holidays. And while Seattle rain and Starbuck’s early roll out of the Pumpkin Spice Latte may be infringing on my ideas of September slowly oozing us out of Summer, well, I’m not totally giving up. I’m still making weekly batches of ice cream (we’ve been doing a whole slew of PB Chocolate variations), wearing my flip-flops to the store (rain puddles be damned) and diligently going to our farmer’s market every Thursday come rain or shine or kids (ok, in all honesty, not for summer produce, but for this KILLER brick oven pizza stand).
I realize this is a losing battle, and so I leave you with my final little hat-tip to summer. It’s got a little fall in it, but uses the last little bits of my farmer’s market favorites.
Ps. The title of my letter is to remind me years down the road how Harvey said "Bye Bye" this summer.
Hazelnut and Tarragon Salad with Blue Cheese
This needs no explanation, but who I am to quiet down? The dressing is a classic French vinaigrette, light and tangy. And the salad is great just with toast or as an accompaniment to a big meal. It does have tarragon, which I know a lot of people aren't super excited about, but it is soooo great with the hazelnuts. If you can't bring yourself to do it, though, pretty much any other leafy herb will do - parsley, basil, etc. Au revoir, l'ete!
For the dressing (makes about 3/4 C):
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2-3 Tbsp champagne vinegar
½ cup olive (can use hazelnut oil here, too!)
salt and pepper, to taste
Blend shallots, mustard and champagne vinegar. Add olive oil, very slowly at first, whisking briskly to incorporate and emulsify the vinaigrette (this is honestly the best whisk ever for just this purpose). You'll know its emulsifying properly, as it will start to thicken and you won't be able to identify little droplets of oil in the vinegar anymore. Add salt and pepper to taste. (This makes more than enough for this salad, but is very versatile and saves well so you can use it on any other salad coming down the pike!)
For the salad (makes two dinner salads or 4 small side salads):
Use any green (Mesclun or butter leaf are best - I would avoid more bitter leaves like arugula or radicchio).
1/4 C taragon leaves, torn from the stem
1/4 C hazelnuts, raw or toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 C blue cheese, something buttery and creamy, like Maytag
Toss lettuce and tarragon leaves with enough dressing to coat, but not soak, the leaves. Plate and top with hazelnuts and blue cheese - adding more or less to taste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.