Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter Salad

When it comes to salad, if you have the courage to walk away from the iceberg, you'll be richly rewarded. Even if you're a fan of romaine or red leaf, there's plenty of new ground to explore.

Like silly putty, this salad was invented by accident. Well, more by necessity: I wanted salad, and this was all there was. If we'd had arugula or spinach, I don't think I would have ever thought to combine raw napa cabbage and whatever this red stuff is from our CSA (radicchio?). But I'm glad that I did.

The sweetness of the napa offset the bitterness of the _______, and its succulent crunch was a nice pairing with the waxier leaves of what I now know is a variety of radicchio, having google image searched it between typing the first half of this sentence and its conclusion. Together these two veggies tasted much better than either did on its own.

It's no wonder people drown limp, tasteless lettuce in dressings chock full of fat and corn syrup. But with leaves as flavorful as these, your only goal should be not f*cking them up. I did a simple drizzle of homemade apple-scrap vinegar and olive oil, and it was one of the best salads I've ever had.

Your homework for tonight: make a salad with something you wouldn't ordinarily put into it, and let me know how it goes.

Oh, and no yogurt covered raisins.

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Sean McLeod said...

Salad is one of those things that I always think that I want to eat more of, but I usually end up cooking a vegetable side instead of serving salad. I buy lettuce every week, usually romaine or arugula, and I only think to make salad when I peer into the vegetable drawer and say to myself, "Better use that while it's still good!" I'd planned to serve salad at Thanksgiving but it was the one dish that I never got around to assembling and we really didn't need it as there were so many other veggie sides.

So last night's dinner had a spinach salad from a bag of baby spinach that was still edible along with a head of endive, some cold roasted beets also unused from Thanksgiving day, and some hakurei turnips thinly sliced (also bought for Thxgiving but I ended up roasting moast of them with other root veggies and brussel sprouts). The secret ingredient was pomegranate seeds which were like beautiful jewels mixed into the salad. A simple dijon vinaigrette and I put out one of the simplest dinners I've done on a sunday in a long time: rotisserie chicken, microwaved spaghetti squash (dressed with the same vinaigrette), and the aforementioned salad. The spinach wilted nicely and was even good the next day for lunch! I still have a kohlrabi in the fridge and that's also a nice crisp veggie to thinly slice and add to salad.

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