Wednesday, August 26, 2009

my green salad

Let it just be said, I am a fan of salad. One might go so far as to call me a master (and some have...) of the sweet and savoury blend that makes my salads so spectacular. When I make salad, it is not an accompaniment, oh no. It quickly rises to the highest echelons of pot luck history to become a legend in its own right. There are plenty of reasons why you should begin exploring the wonderful world of salad. Not only is it good for you, but it can be cheap, fast, and the ingredients may be prepared in advance and assembled just in time to eat. Here now is my latest creation, crafted from whatever random ingredients I found in the fridge, plus a few things I always make sure to have nearby.

Baby spinach - usually comes pre-washed, just make sure.

baby cucumbers - local and organic from the farmer's market - sliced (not so thin that they're see-through, but not so big that they would have to be cut on the eater's plate)

green onion - sliced or chopped - please make use of the white of the onion, it's a strong flavour, but it adds freshness and a colourful dimension to this "green" salad

seedless green grapes - washed and halved lengthwise - welcome sweet! meet savoury!

avocado - diced, cubed, triangulated, as you like it

goat cheese - crumbled

These are the basic elements of any successful salad: greens; savoury like onion or garlic; sweet like a fresh or dried fruit; something unexpected - which may be satisfied by the sweet, but could also come in the form of an exotic ingredient like avocado, or something like toasted pine nuts, candied walnuts, or a meat of some kind, and cheese. In my mind, there is no dish that cannot be improved with the addition of the marvelous bacterial culture. Cheese is the moon in the sky and the waves on the shore. Oh cheese!

For a vinaigrette, begin with the basics: extra virgin olive oil and good balsamic vinegar. For this salad I added some honey and a bit of dijon mustard. You could also use real maple syrup, pesto, fresh crushed garlic, or ginger paste. Stir vigourously until the vinegar and oil are emulsified. Drizzle over the salad, toss and serve.

Et voila! Something simple, healthy, and unique to surprise whomever you are feeding next. Enjoy.

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