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THE RECIPE BOX: Use fresh farmer’s market veggies in simply summery feta cheese salad

Crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes, lightly coated with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with feta cheese, are sure to please your taste buds this summer. (Staff Photo: Julie Wells)

Crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes, lightly coated with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with feta cheese, are sure to please your taste buds this summer. (Staff Photo: Julie Wells)

There isn’t too much more that says “summer is here” than being able to visit one our local farmer’s markets or produce stands and purchasing fresh-from-the-garden fruits and vegetables.

Where better to use those vegetables than in a simply summery feta cheese salad.

I have made plenty of summer salads with cucumbers and tomatoes before. All of them are usually made with some type of zesty Italian dressing. But I decided to mix things up a little with this recipe.

Instead of using Italian dressing, I found a couple of recipes that called for olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Now, lets be clear on one thing — balsamic vinegar shouldn’t be confused with a balsamic vinaigrette; they are different. In case you are wondering, balsamic vinegar is usually located on the same isle as the regular vinegar at your local grocery store.

You might have to adjust how much balsamic vinegar you use when making this summer salad. Some folks like a strong vinegar taste, and you could achieve that taste rather quickly if you use too much. So start out with just two tablespoons of the balsamic and add more if you prefer.

Another thing, this recipe calls for red onions. I don’t like raw onions, but you may feel free to add as much or as little as you’d like to this recipe.

Speaking of adding things, if you need to feed several folks, and you don’t necessarily have enough ingredients on hand, add some cooked pasta to the recipe, and you find you’ve almost doubled the size of your summery salad.

Lastly, I prefer to add the feta cheese right before serving the salad. I found that by adding in the feta cheese with the rest of the ingredients, and then pouring the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to it, everything seemed to taste the same. Adding the feta cheese last allows some separation between the balsamic dressing and the feta cheese. Also, a little basil might take this summer salad up another notch too.

Hope you enjoy it.

Summer feta cheese salad

2 cups of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Two medium cucumbers, diced small

1/2 cup of feta cheese, crumbled

Half of a small red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a small bowl.

Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir together thoroughly.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Top with feta cheese before serving.

Tip: Use a small flower-shaped cookie cutter to shape cucumber slices for a more summery looking salad.