Summer in Oakland comes in September – it’s the warmest month of the year. Don’t tell that to my collie pup Harriet, who thinks the breezy cool weather we’ve been enjoying for the past few days is here to stay. Poor kid is covered in fluff.
It’s always hard to let go of summer, but here you coast through until the winter rains come in November. I feel like Harriet – I love the transition: the freshness of fall, the bright clean smell, the colors changing. It seems like it is its own new year beginning.
But September has never been the beginning of fall, no matter how definite it seems with everybody winding down summer cookouts and camping trips. It’s more like a month between things (no matter what the calendar tells you).
This is a recipe to savor that ambiguity of time. Enjoy the last month of summer fruits and the beginning of autumn’s sweeter flavors: juicy nectarines are paired with crunchy red onions and the sweetness of dried cranberries plays off the bright tang of preserved lemons in the dressing. If it’s cold, pair it with a spicy dahl or hot soup. If you live in Oakland and are looking forward to another month of 80° days, black bean and mushroom burritos sound like a good match.
Note: Make your own preserved lemons or find them in a well-stocked supermarket or Mediterranean market.
- 1/2 preserved lemon, rind and flesh
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Purée garlic in a food processor. Add lemon, black pepper, and vinegar and pulse until a paste is formed. With the machine running, add olive oil.
- Add water or more olive oil to achieve desired consistency.
- 12 ounces flavorful salad greens (arugula, frisée, endive, cress, mizuna)
- 2 nectarines, thinly sliced
- 1/2 sweet Italian onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries (craisins)
- Preserved Lemon Dressing
- optional: 1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted
- Combine salad greens and red onion in a medium sized bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing. Add nectarine slices, craisins, and nuts (if using). Serve immediately.
- Firmer nectarines will slice neatly. Chill beforehand if desired.
- A regular red onion will work well in replace of the sweeter kind, especially if you include the craisins.