Three months ago, I listened to an interview1 with science writer Christie Aschwanden2, author of the book Good To Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery3. I was so intrigued by what I heard that I purchased the book and learned a lot by reading it. While I am not a competitive athlete, I exercise regularly and a year and a half ago I started running regularly. Regardless of how far you push yourself, recovery is a fundamental component of physical activity.
Aschwanden's writing kept my attention throughout the whole book as I followed description of her experiences, interviews with experts and athletes, and the summary of her extensive research. If you want a taste of what the book is about, besides listening to the interview, you can read a five-point summary4. Aschwanden supports some things I have done for a long time, like not skipping sleep and drinking when I am thirsty. I do my best to listen to my body, because our body is really good at adapting to challenges and also at signaling when adjustments are needed. This active listening is often hard for us to do, pushed as we are by fads and unscientific claims.
Just as I was reading the book, summer arrived and with it produce I like, including tomatoes, corn, melons (meloni), green beans5. Running in warmer temperatures means sweating more and with it comes the desire to eat water-rich vegetables, like tomatoes and cucumbers. When I was a child, we would spend the day at the beach (if on vacation) or at the swimming pool (if in Perugia): in either case, it was nice to come home to a big salad made with pomodori da insalata (salad tomatoes, slicing tomatoes harvested while still a bit green) and slicing cucumbers, the kind with dark green skin. I now favor cherry tomatoes for salads and the array of cucumbers available is quite rich, including lemon, Boothby's blond, Japanese, to name just a few.
I am currently fascinated by the pale green, deeply ribbed, long Armenian cucumbers (cetrioli armeni), whose flesh is mild- and sweet-tasting. Genetically they are a musk melon (Cucumis melo var. flexuosus), rather than a cucumber (Cucumis sativus). The addition of peppery radishes creates a pleasant contrast of flavors, accented by fresh basil (basilico), indispensable companion.
- 12 ounces / 340 g cherry tomatoes (in the photo are red and yellow tiger stripe), preferably organic
- 10 ounces / 280 g Armenian cucumbers OR cucumbers of another slicing variety, preferably organic
- 4 ounces / 112 g radishes, preferably organic
- 1/2 tablespoon / 7.5 ml sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves, shredded
Prepare the salad shortly before serving it.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and, if they are long, cut each half in half or into thirds crosswise. Place in a salad bowl.
Quarter the cucumbers lengthwise and slice them into the salad bowl.
Grate the radishes using the extra-coarse side of your grater and add to the salad bowl.
Put the vinegar, olive oil and sea salt into a small glass jar. Screw on the lid and shake well. Distribute on the salad and toss gently. Sprinkle the basil, then toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, then serve.
Light, refreshing, colorful and flavorful: this salad is perfect for lunch and dinner. Your body will thank you.
1 Recording of the interview (on the same page you can access an excerpt of the book)
2 The author's website
3 The book's website
4 The Greatest Tool for Recovery Might Be Common Sense (from Outside magazine)
5 See my previous post with a recipe for Green bean and torpedo onion salad
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the insalata di pomodori, cetrioli e ravanelli audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
This is my second contribution to the 36th edition of Novel Food, the literary/culinary event that Lisa of Champaign Taste and I started 11 years ago and that I continue to host.
FTC disclosure: I have received the table linen free of charge from the manufacturer (la FABBRICA del LINO). I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for presenting it on my blog. The experience shared and the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.