Sunday, June 19, 2011

Salad Days

Why do I have this gorgeous bed of lettuce when I find salads intimidating?

Black seeded Simpson and Matina Sweet
"Oh, just bring a salad." I dread those words. To me, salads mean one of two things. The first is the gourmet salad One tosses together with an airy laugh, with ingredients like "caramelized seckel pear halves stuffed with gorgonzola dolce" - ingredients I have never seen, let alone possess. I am the type of person who occasionally throws caution to the wind and buys something like Italian parsley for a new recipe, then realizes she has no other uses for it, and discovers it weeks later, brown and slimy, in the bottom of her crisper.

The second thing salad means to me is the wodge of green that is slapped on a plate and nudged to the edge by the fleshocentric* main dishes that the salad offers a weak justification for gorging on. In my world, it is typically one of three options:

  • The Triumvirate (lettuce, cucumber, wedge of pallid tomato tasting of dirty water)
  • The Slaw (cabbage and carrot, creamy dressing)
  • The Jello (orange or red with fruit, or occasionally, and hideously, green with slaw)


Usually when I make salad I try to compensate for the lack of taste in a typical Triumvirate and add every vegetable I happen to have. This results in a salad that tastes of nothing in particular and has to be drowned in dressing for flavour. But I do have a gorgeous bed of lettuce. So I decided to try a new approach: use common ingredients, but with a "less is more" philosophy.

This is my lettuce, carrot, sunflower seed salad, with crushed garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar dressing. Fresh and sweet. I look forward to more experimentation!

 *Thanks to Hugh Joseph's presentation on salad at the AFHVS conference for introducing this hilarious term to me.

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