Now tell me, was it worth it? Do you feel healthier? In fact, I always marvel at how I feel worse after eating one of those salads than I would if I had had the cheese steak. Who am I kidding? I did have the cheese steak. Do you know why? Because I was secretly convinced that I do not like salad. Secretly, because I a a huge proponent of healthy eating.
So where did salad go wrong for me? I think it started in high school, when salad was for girls who were watching their figures. I hated those girls. If I was going to eat a hamburger I wasn't going to apologize for it because I was a girl. Worse than that it meant that salad was not about the pleasure of eating, it was about restricting that pleasure.
So I would like to change how I feel about salad. I have been hard at work exploring what a salad can offer and learned that an extraordinary salad is not only worth eating, but that which I will look forward to eating. In fact, I will crave it. That being said, there are a few things that need to understood as components of an extraordinary salad.
Components of an Extraodinarily Good Salad:
- Contrasting textures: crunchy/creamy or soft - For example, crunchy greens or carrots with soft cheese or avocado
- Contrasting flavors: salty/ sweet, crispy/meaty - For example, dried fruit and nuts, or chicken and crunchy croutons
- Bright colors: Velieve me if your salad is dark brown and wilted green you are not excited about eating it
- You must have a salad spinner. If this is an obvious fact, you are a cut above the rest of us. If you are like me you may have thought that paper towels were a good enough drying method. They are not. They are a hassle and never seem to get the leaves dry enough. Spin out as much water as possible because a little will ruin you salad.
- Whatever greens you are using, if the leaves are large, cut them down the center vein first and then chop into bite size pieces. That way you can get more flavors in one bite.
- No deli meat, no canned vegetables, no processed cheeses and for the love of Pete, no bottled salad dressing.
- Cobb Salad from Smitten Kitchen
- Kale Market Salad from 101 Cookbooks
- Mark Bittman's Raw Beet Salad
- Cucumber Peanut and Basil Salad from Fine Cooking
- Raw Asparagus and Mushroom with Walnuts and Miso Dressing from Gourmande in the Kitchen
- Wedge Salad from No Recipes
This salad was inspired by one we had at a wedding this past weekend. The avocados were perfectly ripe and coated the crisp romaine like a dressing. It had a hint of lime and garlic.