Friday, July 13, 2012

What Makes a Green Salad Great?

We all have differing views on what makes a great green salad.  Some, like my Honey favor crunchy lettuce, like romaine hearts, and consider other salad greens ... well...

Others, like me, love mixing lots of greens and enjoying the subtle - and not so subtle flavors as I bite into a forkful.  That said, I bet everyone... even those who don't/can't get to a farmers' market, agree that the fresher, the better.
And how lucky am I that my daughter has a vegetable garden where she loves growing lots of greens... including romaine for my Honey and hers.
Another garden view - that's Joanna & Boaz harvesting potatoes.  
My favorite part of her garden...the garlic!  You can't really tell how tall they are from this photo, but I thought that she was growing corn!  
But I digress....back to salads.  The salad at the top is a perfect example of my Summer salad-making style and here's the recipe - I use the term loosely.... very loosely:

1.  Visit your local producers when possible and buy whatever has your eyes popping and your mouth salivating.  This one has, in addition to a glorious organic  "spicy" salad green mix, some baby carrots and salad turnips (sweet & peppery!) baby rainbow Swiss Chard from ... I was so excited, by the produce and by the cutest baby carried about by her farmer mom serving all of us... I forgot to write down the name of the farm!  As for the asparagus - another vendor... but it's a blur.   Fresh oregano, baby red cabbage leaves/shoots & mizuna from Riverview Herbs.  
2.  Rinse, dry and toss everything green together in a bowl.  I shaved the carrots & asparagus and thinly sliced the turnips - no peeling required. 

3.  Make the dressing:  I always have on hand an assortment of:
 oils, (love olive & avocado best for salads) - I drizzle over a measuring cup as if I was drizzling over the salad itself
vinegars -Boates Balsamic style Apple Cider Vinegar is awesome!, champagne vinegar, rice wine, vinegar, red & white wine vinegar, ....and any other newly found one - drizzle that into the measuring cup too - depending on the vinegar 1/3 to equal portions to oil - give it a taste before adding anything else - if it's too tangy add more oil, you can always save it for the next day
Dijon style mustard - 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (my favorites are by Anton Kozlik, made in Ontario and unfortunately NOT sold in Halifax, so I stock up when visiting Toronto or order on line.  
Another aside, when living in Toronto, I would make my weekly trek to the St Lawrence Market and one of my favorite stalls was Kozliks... not just for the bazillion types of mustard - and you can taste them!, not only for the friendly staff who are very passionate and knowledgeable about the mustards, but for the sharing of "favorites" and recipes from other shoppers.  It is a great place to hang out, learn new ways to add punch to some dish or other and I miss it. 
 Garlic or shallots or garlic scapes (optional and depends on my mood.  Sometimes I add a teaspoon of honey instead)

4. Pour the dressing over the salad - enough to taste, not to drown and serve.  

So back to you... what's your stand on the Green Salad Question?


bellini said...

I just picked my first lettuce from my garden yesterday and enjoyed my salad immensely. It tastes better when you grow it yourself.

Joanne said...

Fresh greens inevitably make salad a TON better. But for me it's all about the mix-ins!

Michelle said...

I prefer apple cider vinegar like Braggs' and just like you, many greens.