Oh, the dog days of summer… time for fresh salads dressed simply to enjoy on the porch with a wispy breeze blowing about.
We love this time of year. Farmers’ market stands are overflowing with fresh, locally grown vegetables, ripe melons and berries calling our name. This salad is good all by itself, but also sits nicely alongside grilled meats or with a scoop of cold chicken or egg salad. The only cooking you’ll need to do is some flash frying to make some country ham bits. Some like tender little pieces of Rays Country Ham scattered about, while some love cooking until crispy and crumbled for a salty crunch like we’ve offered here!
And then… there’s the dressing. You can use any vegetable oil you prefer for yours, but we really like the light and subtle nutty flavor of sunflower oil… not to mention the beautiful golden color of this vinaigrette. Lightly sweetened with local honey and grated sweet onion… keep on hand for a quick drizzle on any of your vegetable and fruit salads. Just be sure to keep some Rays Country Ham on hand for topping your salads…. soups and sandwiches too!
Adjust amounts as you need. This salad can easily be made for any number of servings. The amounts given will serve 4-8 depending on if served as a meal or as a side.
1/2 lb. Rays Country Ham, diced
5-ounce package mixed salad greens
2-3 cups cubed melon
1-2 cups fresh berries (we used blueberries and blackberries)
1 cup thinly sliced small seedless cucumber
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup chopped chives
2-3 tablespoons minced mint
1 cup sunflower oil (we love Carolina Gold Oils)
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons grated sweet onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Heat skillet to medium-high heat and lightly oil. Cook ham pieces until crispy, stirring about while it cooks. Drain on paper towels.
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake when ready to dress salad. Best if it sits for an hour before serving at room temp for flavors to marry.
To make salad:
Put lettuce onto salad platter. Scatter with melons, berries and cucumbers. Crumble crisped ham and toss together with the blue cheese crumbles. Dust salad with ham and cheese mixture, black pepper, chives and mint.
We happened to have some fresh chive blooming in our yard garden and garnished the salad with (edible) chive blossoms and sprig of mint.