When is slow food fast? When it’s summertime and fresh vegetables and herbs are abundant, the garden beckons more compellingly than the kitchen, and raw rules the day. The two main-dish salads shown here are each a meal in themselves, or together, the center of a festive buffet. The accompaniments are equally fresh and simple: old-fashioned three-bean salad with a green twist, marinated cukes, and a mélange of seasonal fruit, mellowed with an intriguing vanilla-lime syrup.
These are the kind of make-ahead recipes that keep the kitchen cool and the cook collected. You can streamline preparation by whisking up a basic vinaigrette of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to be modified with different herbal flavorings for each salad, and consolidate the chopping of onion, garlic, and other ingredients that turn up more than once. Tofu, green soybeans (edamame), and whole grains provide plenty of complementary protein; add a chunk of sharp cheese with crusty bread, and you have a hearty, full meal.
These recipes are written for the judicious use of convenience foods such as canned beans and shelled edamame. Of course you can start from scratch. But you don’t have to.