My garden is bursting with green. The warm days of spring have led into a summer with ideal conditions for growing vegetables. With a bit of rain, plenty of heat and some tender loving care, my ordinary backyard transforms into a kitchen garden.
Raised beds hold tomato vines that seem to grow by inches each afternoon. Bright red fruits adorn branches like Christmas lights, just in time for the July celebration. The dark brown dirt is dotted with the green tops of carrots and the bushy leaves of radishes. Along the back fence, my 5-year-old's green bean plants have been producing lots of beans, and on weeks when there aren't enough to satisfy, I simply pick up a basket (or two or three) at the market, where I can always find any number of colorful beans waiting to come home with me.
I find these early days of summer inspiring, with their greenery yet to be hit by late summer droughts or other afflictions. The plant growth is prolific and the tomatoes appear to be unending in their bounty. Summer still sings with promise.
This salad is a nod to all of my favorite things in the garden at the moment; the long, thin green beans and the radishes I planted mid-May are getting a chance to shine alongside the smallest tomatoes, which are always the first to be ready for harvest.
Garden veggies are tossed in a light red wine vinaigrette with a kiss of honey and a hint of Dijon mustard. Fresh oregano and thyme are minced and added for a burst of fragrant flavor. A healthy sprinkle of Président® Valbreso Feta adds rich, creamy bits of salty flavor to help bind it all together.
We served this salad with thin slices of baguette, toasted with a small bit of oil and then broiled with a smear of Président® Plain Goat Cheese. A drizzle of honey and a sprig or two of garden herbs make these “croutons” a dish in and of themselves, the earthy cheese pairing nicely with our local honey.