When we’re looking for summer dinner ideas, we’re looking for something that uses the best of the season’s peak produce, something that doesn’t require us to turn on the oven or stove top for too long, and preferably a meal that packs a flavorful punch. Pairing well with a chilled glass of white wine or rosé doesn’t hurt, either! Giada De Laurentiis‘ Italian-inspired recipes usually fit the bill, and her Roman Salad is no different. It’s got fresh produce, bold flavors, and minimal stove use, so your kitchen stays cool.
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De Laurentiis’ is pretty much a master of summer recipes. Her cookbook Eat Better, Feel Better shows just how simple it can be to turn vegetables and other good-for-you ingredients into flavorful meals, and this recipe is no exception to that philosophy.
Her Roman Salad is like if caprese salad and antipasti had a baby. It features fresh summer tomatoes, one of our favorite ingredients of all time, and shredded fresh basil, but skips the mozzarella you’d find in a caprese (although we think it could work well here too).
Instead, it piles on the bold and briny flavors you’d find in an antipasti platter. Chopped green and black olives, capers, and anchovies combine to add big flavor to this simple salad.
The only part of the recipe that calls for you to turn up the heat is the balsamic reduction, made by simmering balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until thick and syrupy. Our secret? You can buy balsamic reduction instead, keeping this recipe heat-free.
The end result of the recipe is a mouthwatering balance between sweet and juicy summer tomatoes, succulent and salty olives, briny capers and anchovies, and the fresh green flavor of chopped parsley and basil. Add the complex, tangy sweetness of the balsamic reduction, along with the rich fruity flavor of good olive oil, and you’ve got the easy Italian dinner that summer dreams are made of.
In search of more summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty:
Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
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