tomato, feta and dill salad

Image: Olaiya Land

Hello lovely people!
I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start. Things are feeling very summery around here. We’re having a Seattle heatwave (temps above 80°!) and people are hunkered down with their freshly-purchased air conditioners, freezers stocked full of ice cream and cases of rosé. (Ok, maybe that’s just us.) 
Last night we had friends over for a casual backyard barbecue. In line with my no-stress dinner party policy, I just threw a bunch of vegetables and sausages on the grill, opened a few bottles of wine and tossed together this easy-peasy 4-ingredient tomato salad.
I hope you won’t think me bossy if I say you should, too. 

Tomato feta and dill salad_June 2017-7.jpg

I first had this deceptively simple salad at one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. I was a bit underwhelmed when it was placed in front of me. It didn’t look like much after all the flaky, buttery excesses of the culinary tour I’d just led.
But as I took my first bite, I understood that the chef had done that very French thing that young chefs are doing all over Paris. He had taken a few simple ingredients, combined them in an unconventional manner and let their utter perfection do the talking. 
This salad was so far greater than the sum of its parts. It was refreshing, earthy, salty, creamy and faintly sweet all at the same time. It tasted like summer. 

Image: Olaiya Land

I knew instantly this comes-together-in-five-minutes-and-goes-with-everything salad would be the new workhorse of my summer suppers. And so far it has been. I’ve had it with Lebanese spiced chicken and cucumber-yogurt salad. With spicy grilled shrimp. With a soft boiled egg and a slice of toast. All within the last two weeks! 
So, friends, track down the very best ingredients you can find and give this refreshing little tomato salad a go--your summer will thank you!

Image: Olaiya Land
Image: Olaiya Land

Tomato, Feta and Dill Salad

  • 1 pint ripe cherry or other small tomatoes
  • Feta cheese, (preferably a creamy, not-too-salty variety)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh dill
  • Flaky sea salt
Image: Olaiya Land

*Notes: Today I’m giving you a non-recipe sort of recipe. There’s not really any right or wrong way to combine the ingredients in this dish. If you love dill, sprinkle on a little extra. If olive oil’s your thing, pour it on! The key is simply to track down the best ingredients you can manage. Sweet, perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes. Fresh dill. Creamy, not-too-salty feta (My go-to is Valbreso). And the best olive oil and sea salt you can get your hands on. That’s most of the work done.
- For all you dill haters out there, I feel you. Dill was not, until recently, an herb I was particularly fond of. But there’s something magical about the combination of dill and tomatoes that makes it all ok. It’s the dill that provides a faintly sweet and sour complexity to this salad, so I encourage you to try it. But no hard feelings if you’re not into it--you can always substitute another herb such as mint (I love tomato and mint together), fennel fronds, and/or summer savory. A few finely snipped chives would be nice, too.
- And just in case your mamma never told you, raw tomatoes never, ever (ever!) go in the fridge. It turns their texture mealy and mutes their subtle sweetness. Store them in a single layer on your countertop or other cool location.


Slice the tomatoes in half and arrange them on a serving platter. Crumble some feta over the top and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle some dill fronds and salt over the top just before serving.
Makes 3-4 side-dish servings.

swiss chard and winter squash salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

I’m a little later getting this post up than I’d hoped. This is mainly because I was in a foul mood when I returned to Seattle from my trip to Portugal, Brussels and Paris. 

Monday was especially rough. I woke to a gunmetal sky and crushing rain. The idea of returning to the daily mundanities of doing dishes, answering email and paying bills left me huddled beneath the covers, imagining myself back to the limestone streets of Lisbon. Eventually, I managed to roll out of bed, dress and get on with the business of day-to-day life. 

home // millys-kitchen.com

Somewhere in the middle of this stormy week, a small shift took hold. I unpacked my suitcases and fell into the familiar rhythms of cooking breakfast, doing laundry, watering plants. I snuggled my cat and brewed pots of tea. I settled into being Home.

home // millys-kitchen.com

When I was finally ready to sit down and write this post, it occurred to me that those little rituals of home are what cured me of my post-travel blues. And none more so than the pleasure of being back in my own kitchen, cooking for loved ones.

home // millys-kitchen.com
home // millys-kitchen.com

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And while I’m not a huge fan of all the holiday pomp, I am ever in favor of cooking for those you love. I made this salad for Beau and I this week and realized that it would be right at home on the holiday table. Any leftover salad is wonderful with pieces of roast chicken (or turkey) tossed in. And I have a hunch that a few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce would play right along with the sweet squash and toasty pine nuts. 

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

I’m finally feeling happy to be home. I’m looking forward to the traditions that make the holidays bright. And, more than ever, I’m appreciating the little rituals that connect our days. For me, one of those rituals is sharing my travels and photos and recipes with you. So thank you for being here, part of the home it feels so good to return to!

Swiss Chard and Winter Squash Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

  • 2 lbs. delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch thick half moons
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting the squash
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced (should yield 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly torn if large
  • 3 tablespoons mint leaves, roughly torn if large
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

* Notes: I like the way the delicata looks in this salad and the fact that you don’t have to peel it , but any winter squash will work here. If you’re using a different squash, I recommend cutting it into 3/4 cubes (for a squash like butternut) or 1/2 inch slices (for a squash like acorn). Cook time will vary depending on the squash and how thickly you’ve cut it, but should range from 20-35 minutes.

- For this salad, I look for Swiss chard with white stems. The ones with red and orange stems have a mineral beet flavor that I don't like as well in this recipe.

- I use lacinato kale in raw salads because I think it's the most tender. 

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the squash on the sheet pan and toss with olive oil to lightly coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, turning squash after 10 minutes, until light golden-brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes total. When the squash is done roasting, set it aside to cool.

While the squash is cooking, make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, combine the shallot, red wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, a generous pinch of salt and a few grindings of black pepper. If you have time, let this sit for 10-15 minutes to mellow the shallot. Whisk in 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.

swiss chard and squash salad // millys-kitchen.com

To assemble, place the Swiss chard and kale in a large bowl. Add the mint, parsley, 2/3 of the cooled squash and half the pine nuts to the bowl with the greens. Lightly dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Taste and add a bit more dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on a serving platter and top with the rest of the squash and pine nuts. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

home // millys-kitchen.com