Late weekend afternoons spent soaking up the sun in the backyard recently has made me realize how a simple change of environment can alter your perspective.
My pace is more leisurely, and my mood greatly improved within minutes of settling into my chair with my stack of magazines, my book and crossword puzzles.
This is what I love about the season; all the time spent outdoors. I’ve taken to eating my meals outdoors as frequently as possible as well. While my al fresco meal of choice will always be an evening picnic at the beach, even a quick meal piled onto a tray and taken to the backyard becomes something special this time of year.
This summertime romaine and avocado salad is a recent example of the type of meal that begs to be enjoyed outdoors. It brings together a delicate balance of light yet rich flavors and crunchy and creamy textures.
It’s swiftly becoming our new house salad and it couldn’t be easier to make. It all starts with fresh, crisp hearts of romaine and ripe buttery avocados which make a delicious team in this salad.
Leafy crispy romaine is torn into coarse bites and tossed with a lively mustard vinaigrette; then luscious, creamy avocado slices join the mix along with fresh chives and lightly toasted walnuts.
The dressing is classically French in nature, made with finely chopped shallots, Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar. I usually do two parts olive oil to one part vinegar and a good dose of mustard since I like it nice and spicy but you can make it mellower by increasing the oil and reducing the mustard.
What results is a bright, kicky dressing and an effortless salad with lively layers of cool romaine, smooth avocado flesh and toasty walnuts, just the thing for a leisurely outdoor lunch or light dinner.
What’s your favorite outdoor meal?