Culinary ramblings of a mischievous cook. Recipes,pictures,diary entries and all things foodie.Follow a journey of life in the east Algarve, Portugal...
The little green salad
A little green salad can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be
Sometimes I think of this blog as an ever-expanding cookbook and very often I feel that certain gaps need filling. So what’s missing? Yesterday as I was throwing together my interpretation of what I consider to be a standard green salad, I realized what is missing is a side salad recipe. Every cook needs a little green salad recipe in their repertoire, in the same way as every style conscious woman needs a flattering little black dress in her wardrobe. They’re both fundamental building blocks.There is perhaps nothing worse than a boring bowl of green leaves served at a table with a meal.I know it’s hard to get over enthusiastic about salad and let’s be honest salads do not generally excite people.The main ingredient in a green salad is the lettuce. But just as lettuce by itself does not a salad make, using only one kind of lettuce in a salad can be dull, and a dull salad means a missed opportunity.A perfect green salad strikes just the right balance of textures, flavours and colours. Colours? Should a green salad just be composed of a perfect blend of ONLY green ingredients ? It appears not.Red onion, radish and tomato all seem to pop up on "green" salad recipes.More often than not, a green salad is eaten as an accompaniment to another dish – often a wildly unsuitable one. No, a green salad is meant to accompany just-warm or room-temperature foods. It works best with either a good steak, or as a counterpoint to rich and/ or salty foods where the salad acts as a consistent,complementary palate-cleanser.That all American classic combo soup and salad is exactly what I´m talking about.The French will often eat a green salad as a separate course. Throw an oeuf mollet at it and let some crispy lardons do the talking and you have a meal in itself. So here´s what we have if we decide to go green.The choice is yours on the green leaf front ...Green leaf, baby gem,crunchy Cos or Romaine Lamb’s lettuce, Mizuna, Butter lettuce,iceberg,watercress,rocket and spinach are just some of your options.If you want some vegetables for a contrasting texture add.....French beans,asparagus,avocado,fava beans,green olives, endamame beans.Just make sure your broad beans dont still have their knickers on .There is nothing worse than a broad bean still in its skin looking like pants that have greyed with age.To add a bit of colour use Oak leaf lettuce (feuille de chêne as the french call it) radish, slivers of red onion,cherry tomatoes,kalamata olives. Finally,the dressing:KEEP IT SIMPLE,lemon, olive oil and some parmesan should do it.For best results, use a vinaigrette dressing,mayo-based dressings are way too heavy for this kind of salad,although,as you know I´m a great fan of Caesar.