door, wonder briefly what it is you're hesitating for. All
the streets lie down, deserted in the darkest part of night,
to lead you through the evening to the light. Pulled along
in the tender grip of watches and ellipses. Small request:
could we please turn around?"
- from "Time's Arrow" by John K. Samson
Our summers always seem to rush past us, and we long to appreciate every minute of daylight. In early July, dusk lasts until nearly 9:30. We live five minutes from the Humber River and its beautiful walking path, and ten minutes from Lake Ontario. Most of the year, I enjoy those areas in my daytime walks, but in Toronto's glorious fleeting summer, I relish the extra few hours. And with the girls working at camp for most of the next two months, Andrew and I took advantage of having no particular plans one evening to go for a twilight walk.
I also took advantage of the very hot weather earlier this week to make this wonderful main-course salad. True, there's a bit of advance prep work, and the recipe looks involved, but most of the steps take just a few minutes. That means at mealtime, all you have to do is assemble this salad and eat it - giving you even more time to enjoy your lovely summer evening.
(adapted from Backroad Journal)
For the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and two shakes Tabasco sauce. Whisk well to combine.
For the Roasted Chicken: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle one chicken breast with olive oil and squeeze a little lime juice over it. Season with salt, pepper and ground cumin. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes or until cooked. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette.
For the Eggs: Peel 2 hard-boiled eggs and cut into quarters.
For the Black Beans: Wash and drain well 1 can (19 ounces/540 mL) of black beans and season with 1/4 tsp of oregano, and cumin, pepper and salt to taste. Add some of the vinaigrette, toss well and let rest for 10 minutes to allow flavours to mix.
For the Corn: Remove the kernels from one cob of corn (about 2/3 cup). In a skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté 3 Tbsp diced red onion until translucent. Add 2 Tbsp diced sweet red or green pepper and 1 minced clove garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Add corn, season with 1/4 tsp cumin and salt. Saute for about two minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
For the Avocado: Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, peel and cut into chunks. Squeeze a little lime juice over it to keep it from turning brown. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette and gently mix.
For the Cheese: Slice wedges of Manchego cheese, or crumble pieces of feta or goat cheese.
To assemble the salad: Add about 4 – 5 cups of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and cut into bite-sized pieces to a large bowl, season with a little salt and pepper and toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. Place the lettuce on a large platter and arrange the chicken, eggs, beans, corn, avocado and cheese in neat rows along the top. Serve with any remaining vinaigrette on the side.