Labor Day picnics and family reunions beg something wonderful to bring. If you want to wow everyone, make a watermelon salad. And it’s just so easy! The following adaptable, changeable recipe is based on three of our favorite summer flavors – watermelon, peaches, and ripe tomatoes. Combined in this salad, they speak end of summer and celebration. You salt the watermelon and tomatoes first. Just before serving, add the peaches, and pile the fruit on top of your favorite lettuce, and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. Garnish with feta and almonds. You can serve on individual plates, or pile onto a large platter to feed 8. If you don’t have the basil or mint, use dill or parsley. And if you don’t have feta, use cubes of fresh mozzarella. In a hurry? Drizzle with one of our Old Mill favorite salad dressings.
6 cups seedless watermelon chunks, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups good, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sliced, peeled ripe peaches
6 cups fresh arugula or your favorite salad greens
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil, or a combination
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Place the watermelon and tomatoes in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Toss to coat, and let the fruit sit for 30 minutes. Drain well.
Fold the peaches into the watermelon and tomato mixture. To serve, spoon the fruit on top of the salad greens. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Garnish the top with chopped fresh herbs, feta cheese, and toasted almonds.
Grits cakes are crisp-fried with smoky, creamy flavor and stone-ground texture. Top them with fresh collards that are cooked with smoked bacon, our own sourwood honey, and apple cider vinegar. Serve for an all-vegetable dinner, or with ham.
Prepare grits: Bring water and half-and-half to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until thick and tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter, and pepper,
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with a strip of parchment paper, extending up 2 sides of pan. Pour grits into pan. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours or up to overnight.
Prepare collards: Stack leaves and slice. Cook onion and bacon in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture is browned evenly but not caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Add collards; stir and cook to slightly wilt. Add vinegar, honey, and salt; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the collards are just tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and season with hot sauce and additional salt, if desired. Keep warm.
To fry grits, heat 2 inches oil in a large, heavy skillet to 350°. Cut grits into squares or circles with a biscuit cutter; dust with flour, and fry until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.
Arrange fried grits on servings plates; spoon collards on top.