Following on from my rhapsody about salad dressing, I now have a beautiful beaker full of golden olive oil, velvety balsamic vinegar, nubbly whole-grain mustard, and a sprig of rosemary floating jauntily therein (ok, looking slightly bedraggled and drowned, but keeping up its spirits nonetheless). I need to find a salad to test it out.
Some people speak of salads with a denigrating tone, talking about rabbit food, or using it to describe someone who is constantly dieting and doesn't enjoy food. Au contraire, I say. A salad can be light -- a few peppery leaves of arugula, some sliced roasted beets, and a shaving or two of aged pecorino -- or a full-on meal. I'm sure you know where I'm going with this.
For me, a salad is the perfect excuse to throw everything I have into the bowl. It's the contrast in textures and flavors that make for an interesting, not to mention filling, lunch or dinner. If I have a salad for lunch, it needs to take me through the 4:00pm cake-hunger, gym after work, and home with enough fuel so I don't chew my arm off on the train. This means lots of vegetables, chicken, beans or tuna (or more than one!), some nuts or seeds perhaps, and maybe some home-made bread crumbs or a new potato if the vegetable box brings them. As usual, the French did it right. I take my inspiration from the perfect salade nicoise. Bon appetit!
Spring super salad:
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
A few small potatoes, boiled and cut into bite-size chunks
1/2 can canellini beans
1 small can oil-packed tuna
Handful (1/4 cup?) pumpkin seeds (toasted if you're feeling ambitious)
A small head of tender lettuce, or some large leaves of a bigger, more robust head
Balsamic vinegar dressing, or other of your choice
If you need to make salad dressing, mix enough for two portions in the bottom of a large bowl (say, 2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp. vinegar, 1/2 tsp. mustard).
Into the bowl, add tomato, carrot, bell pepper, potatoes and beans and mix in the salad dressing (adding pre-made if using that). Stir through the chunks of tuna, then mix in the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top.