Everyone’s heard the quote attributed to Mark Twain, “The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” He may or may not have actually said those words, but I live them. While most of the country is sweltering, I can reasonably expect 60 degree, windy and foggy weather in the months the rest of you call summer. But for a few unexpected days each summer, we might get 80 or possibly 90 degree weather, free of wind and fog. San Franciscans lap up those days like the rare treasures they are, and frankly people go a little crazy for a few days. Everyone is outside, blasting music, acting irresponsibly, acting like it might not last. Because it won’t. While the arrival of a hot day is unpredictable, the end of a heat wave is very much predictable. After two or three days, the fog rolls back in, and we’re back to wearing fleece and jeans.
I am not immune to heat wave-induced euphoria, although my response to it is pretty tame. Whenever the heat comes, if at all possible, I pack an impromptu picnic on the way to picking up the kids, and our family has a dinner picnic on Ocean Beach. We had our three days of summer heat earlier this week, and I made this salad as part of our picnic. Its flavors are vibrant and punchy, just like San Franciscans on a hot summer day. This salad is a great accompaniment to salume and crusty bread if you’re having a simple picnic. It also pairs deliciously with pork chops or grilled fish.
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Summertime PineNapa Salad
4 cups Napa cabbage, julienned
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into spears and then thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
1. Prep and place all vegetables and fruit into a salad bowl.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together oils, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add cayenne if desired.
3. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Can be eaten right away, but is even better if allowed to stand for an hour or more. Keep refrigerated and enjoy cold.
© 2011 Linda Shiue
Related: The Get Out of San Francisco Picnic