Every time I think the market can’t possibly have more beautiful summer produce to offer, I’m proven wrong – it’s almost too much of a good thing. It’s hard for me to exercise restraint with so much bounty before me, and when I bring it all home it’s important not to let it go to waste.

Luckily, we love our veggies, and this time of year it’s easy to load up on them. This salad was the first of many main dish versions I have planned for the week, and it features two southern favorites: fried green tomatoes and fried okra. I did a basic dredge, first in a mixture of buttermilk and beaten egg, then coated the tomatoes and okra in seasoned flour and cornmeal, and fried them in batches until crisp and golden. I arranged them on a bed of young, peppery arugula leaves, drizzling them with a buttermilk-Tabasco vinaigrette. A smattering of halved yellow and red grape tomatoes came next, and to gild the lily a wee bit more, I topped each plate with a poached egg.

Dinner:  July 28, 2008

One of the things we both loved about this salad was the interplay between the tart and crusty green tomatoes and the sweet fresh ones. The dressing was a total experiment, but a successful one, providing a little bit of heat and becoming creamier as it mixed with the egg yolk.

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