Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Salad Days.

Radish Greens and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Truffle Curry Vinaigrette 
(Wash radish greens, slice radishes thinly, toss radish and greens with tarragon and parsley, slice heirloom tomato,  season, whisk together olive oil, champagne vinegar, tsp curry powder, salt pepper, tsp truffle oil, drizzle over salad.)

Eating a salad for a meal is not something I usually get behind.  Unless of course we're talking about one of those "salads" where a bed of greens is piled precariously high with meat and cheese and other yummy, fatty toppings and then drenched with enough creamy dressing that you can drown out any worries of eating "healthy".  I love it when people eat out and while their happy companions are eating burgers and fries they pretend to eat healthy.  "Oh my god, burgers are so fattening."  "I'll just have a Cobb salad with three pounds of ham and cheese and avocado and chickpeas and bacon.  Can I just get that with a quart of blue cheese dressing and a doughnut on the side (most salads come with a bread option)."  Just own up to it, that salad is fattier than a double fried bacon tater tot gravy burger ever will be.  And if it didn't come with all that delicious nonsense it just wouldn't be worth eating.

 La Floridita Cobb Salad
(Cut romaine bite sized, top with avocado, ham or Cuban roast pork, turkey, manchego cheese, mushrooms, hearts of palm, sliced starfruit, cumin spiced croutons, top with favorite creamy dressing)

Okay, so that's not entirely true.  There are beautiful salads to be had that are simple little palate cleansers and dainty, delicate, summertime flavors.  I had the most simple arugula salad at Mistral a while back and it blew me away.  It consisted of arugula, pecorino cheese, croutons, and a tart lemon vinaigrette.  Simple, yet an amazing starter to a lovely meal.  But to eat a simple salad like this as a main course?  No thanks.  I'd rather eat fried chicken and go jogging (who am I kidding, I don't "jog").  As a kid I loved going to the all you can eat salad bar.  I would pile my plate so high with fixings (my favorites were always the hard cooked eggs, ham, and black olives) and I would forgo the lettuce.  Was it still a salad?  I don't know.  All of the ingredients came from the salad bar so it must be.  How would you categorize a towering monument of pork, cheese, eggs, covered in dressing?  Is it the lettuce that makes a salad a salad?  Is it the dressing?  Or is it the artfully stacked, loosely composed construction, that says "I'm a salad".  I'm no salad expert, but I say a salad doesn't have to be some weigh watching torture.  It can be whatever you like.  If it's delicious, I'll eat it.

 Warm Turnip Salad with Roasted Poblano Chilies and Bacon Mustard Vinaigrette 

(Roast Poblanos in 450 oven 30 minutes, remove skins, set aside, pan fry diced bacon, remove bacon and add butter to bacon fat, saute quartered turnips, season, add sliced poblanos, add bacon, serve with sliced scallion and a drizzle of lemon juice.)

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