I am not sure when salads graduated from their humble beginnings to the gourmet status they have today, but I no longer dread eating them. Growing up in the Bronx of the 1950s, salads were tolerated and eaten because iceberg lettuce filled the need for a vegetable. No one worried about carbon footprints because there were no tomatoes from Mexico or peppers from Israel to purchase. The produce that was available was limited and seasonal.
Today’s salads defy their dictionary definition, ” raw greens often combined with other vegetables and served with a dressing.” The combinations of ingredients are only limited by our imagination. For example the salad I had for lunch today used shredded iceberg lettuce but it was tossed with raw corn, garbanzo beans, chunks of avocado, thin strips of fried tortillas and a lemony cilantro dressing. Yum!
Here are three very different type of salads that I hope you will try, and enjoy.
My mother used to serve a very simple salad of crisp cucumbers, ripe beefsteak tomatoes, mild white onions and hard-boiled eggs, all thinly sliced and tossed together with lemon juice, a bit of oil, salt, and crushed black pepper. Once the salad was mixed, the egg yolks would blend with the lemon juice and oil, creating a yellow hued dressing that was tart and refreshing. After we finished eating the salad, my sister and I would take fresh rye bread and soak up the remaining dressing from the bottom of the bowl. That’s how good it was.
3 large ripe tomatoes
5 Persian cucumbers
5 hard-boiled eggs
1 white onion
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Thinly slice all ingredients, toss with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and serve cold.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
Wanda P. shared this recipe for her Thai Curry Coleslaw a while ago but I finally had the opportunity to make it. The salad was bursting with flavor, color, and texture (like Wanda) and would be a perfect side with grilled fish or chicken. This is an edited and slightly altered version of the recipe, so to get the original version and to read Wanda’s tips look on The Rendezvous.
Note: Norm is allergic to carrots so I used purple cabbage as a substitute.
Thai Curry Coleslaw
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch mint
1 bunch basil
Remove stems and place herbs in food processor, coarsely chop, and empty into large mixing bowl.
1 large green cabbage
6-7 good size fresh organic carrots
Shred carrots and cabbage in processor and add to bowl.
1 1/2 cups whole Spanish peanuts or cashews, added to bowl.
In processor blend:
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1″ minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup Nama Shoyu* (raw soy sauce)
1/2 cup raw organic agave nectar
1 tsp chili powder
2 heaping tablespoons curry powder
Thoroughly blend above ingredients until emulsified and dress salad.
Garnish with basil or mint leaves.
A couple of weeks ago a few of us took a cooking class and the cookbook author used Pomegranate Molasses in one of her recipes. I had bought a bottle several months ago at a Persian Market but after the class I finally used it in a vinaigrette.
Spring Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
1 lb. assorted baby lettuces
1 avocado, diced
1 can hearts of palm, sliced
1 – 11 oz. can mandarin oranges
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, lightly toasted
Wash lettuce and place in bowl with diced avocado, sliced hearts of palm, black sesame seeds, slivered almonds, mandarin oranges and dress.
4 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp. Pomegranate Molasses
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste