Master the quintessential summer salad with a light but luxurious homemade dressing – with chocolate! – and its perfect sipping sidekick

by Chef Peter Botros

LETTUCE FEAST
With all the season’s vast bounty, crafting the perfect fruit-forward summer salad is a home chef’s dream. Feel free to get creative and mix flavors and colors. For beginners, start with a base of spring mix, mesclun, frisée, arugula, or spinach (you can also mix two or more lettuces). Next pick a fruit – strawberries, raspberries, and peaches all work beautifully with the chocolate dressing below. For crunch, use nuts (hazelnuts are preferred), pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or granola. This salad is bursting with fresh summer flavor on its own, but you can also add a few tablespoons of goat cheese for an additional kick.

ROSÉ GOLD
Whether you prefer it crisp and flat or con gas, there’s no denying summer is the season of rosé. Pair your bowl of greens with these tasty options, each a thrifty $25 or less.

Luc Belaire Rosé ($24) Syrah, cinsault, and grenache grapes from France’s famed Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur region come together to give us this effervescent celebration of the summer season. Notes of strawberry and black currant o er just the right amount of sweetness.

Santa Cristina Cipresseto Toscana ($19) Hailing from Tuscany, Italy, and featuring vibrant notes of jasmine and raspberry, this light and dry rosé complements the chocolate-forward dressing beautifully.

Northwell Spread

TOP IT OFF
Even the most upscale of store-bought bottles can’t compare to fresh, scratch made salad dressing. This simple recipe infuses the complementary flavors of fruit and chocolate for a luxurious topper that will instantly elevate your summer salads.

CHOCOLATE-RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup dark chocolate sauce
1 cup EVOO
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
1 small shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon black pepper

In a blender, combine all ingredients except the EVOO. Once fully incorporated, slowly drizzle the EVOO into the blender on medium to high speed. Once fully emulsified, stop blender. Be careful not to over blend!

Chef Peter Botros
The Stone House / 1150 Clove Road
Chef’s Loft / 1150 Clove Road
Violette’s Cellar / 2271 Hylan Boulevard
Sofi a’s Taqueria / 977 Bay Street
4370 Amboy Road (new)
Rustic Pizza & Pasteria / 97 Lincoln Avenue
Sally’s Southern / 427 Forest Avenue