Summer Vegetable Salad

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Summer Vegetable Salad

By Donna Foltz

I’m an Italian girl from New Orleans, but I have a bit of a Yankee accent…that’s another story.

Growing up in New Orleans my family used food to celebrate anything and everything from Mardi Gras to the Fourth of July. My mom was a fabulous cook. From her, I inherited a love of food and a passion for cooking. I happily passed that enthusiasm on to my daughter, Michelle, at a very young age.

Saturday mornings were one of our favorite times cooking together when she was a little girl. Michelle loved cutting the center out of canned biscuits and frying them to make doughnuts. While she was working on the doughnuts (with me over her shoulder of course), I would work on the icing…always sure to make extra. Once completed, we would sit on the sofa watching cartoons and giggling at Tom and Jerry…dipping the already glazed doughnuts into the extra icing. Oh my gosh, they were so delicious and it was such a special time for us!

If you are from New Orleans, making sauces is a rite of passage. I learned early on how to make remoulade, tarter, hollandaise, tomato and the perfect salad dressing. I wish I could say Michelle, now a beautiful grown woman, was proficient at all these sauces…we’re still working on that. She does, however, have the salad dressing down pat and uses it often to dress our favorite summer vegetable salad. Michelle and I recently made a big batch for a party at our home in Savannah. We each put on one of my old fashioned aprons and went to work. The flowery fabric of the aprons reminded us both of the cafe curtains that once loosely hung in my mother’s New Orleans kitchen.

This time, there were no biscuit donuts frying and no cartoons playing while we cooked, but we giggled just the same. 

Summer Vegetable Salad
Serves 4

2 cups fresh green beans
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” long sticks
½ red onion (thinly sliced)
½ cup black olives, pits removed
1 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Place a steaming basket inside a large saucepan with 1” of water and bring to a low boil. Add green beans and carrot sticks to steaming basket. Cover and cook until beans and carrots are cooked through but still have a slight crunch. Remove from steaming basket and immediately immerse in the ice water bath until cool. Remove from water and pat dry.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients. Add green beans, carrots, onions, black olives, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Reader Comments:


God Bless You Paula! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone... Shame on Food Network and the media. Love ya, Phyllis

By Phyllis Rasmussen on August 11, 2013


Years ago when I was working home-care One couple I worked for taught me a lesson. The wife came out to watch me cook their dinner. Suddenly she said. " I don't understand it." I asked what don't you understand. She said you look like you actually enjoy cooking. I said yes. She had grown up in a home where they had a cook as part of the household staff. It was that day that I realized that being a good cook is a gift that not everybody has. My Maternal grandmother came from Sweden and worked as the cook for the Bristol Family ( owners of the Bristol Co. who made instruments for ships) My Paternal Grandmother managed the School Cafeteria in Bolton until she retired at the age of 76. They wanted to have her leave her recipes to the school but she did not . She felt the staff had made it for years and should be able to jot it down from memory. There was a woman in our church named Mary who told everyone at church that Sue Smith is something. You could give her a bag of dirt and make a delicious meal of it. Well we know that's not true but you can see what's on hand and make a good meal of it.

By Sue Kelly on July 15, 2013


I try to pass along my love of cooking -- especially Southern. I grew up in the South and know there is nothing else like it. I'll be looking forward to every "Paula Deen Newsletter". Thanks, Broomfield, CO

By Helen Austin on July 13, 2013


Great. A marinade with no sugar!!! This looks wonderful. Can't wait to try it. Perfect for a diabetic.

By Yvonne Self on July 12, 2013


Thank you Paula for being honest in everything you do. It much appreciated in my home. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes

By Maryann on July 12, 2013


Love the summer salad recipe and the one for Easter is smiling at me

By Duffy on July 12, 2013


Paula, do you ever make wheat free recipes that are tasty as far as breads, crust, etc. ?

By Anonymous on July 12, 2013

Nothing better than the best mashed potatoes!

By Sarah Harlow on September 10, 2010

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