Friday, February 13, 2015
I love salad, so for me it is all about salad dressing. My life changed when I found an old cookbook in my Chicago place that had a totally different way of making salad dressing from the way I had always done it. Salad was my dinner job when I was a kid. It was always the same in those days before exotic lettuces. I broke up iceberg lettuce, grated some carrots, sliced some cucumbers and maybe added some tomato. The dressing was two tablespoons of olive oil to one tablespoon of vinegar (Nobody had ever heard of balsamic in those days, so at the very best it was some kind of wine vinegar.) Then I would add some garlic salt and shake up the dressing and pour it over the salad.
Even as an adult, I continued on making salad dressing the same way even when I broadened my lettuce horizons and replace the iceberg with romaine and red leaf lettuce. The book I found suggested mixing the dressing on the salad. Once I tried it there was no going back. Never again did I buy packaged salad dressing either. Now I pour one or two tablespoons of olive oil over the salad, sprinkle on the seasoning and then toss it. Then I add the vinegar and it mixes perfectly. With balsamic vinegar I use less oil. You don’t need to tone down the favor like you had to with more sharp tasting vinegars.
My salad making has definitely broadened, to. I never buy iceberg lettuce and rarely romaine or red leaf. My favorite lettuce mix is the Herb Salad mix at Trader Joe’s. Then I add green onions, carrots, Persian cucumbers, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, walnuts, blue cheese, olives, capers and even leftover vegetables. All the flavors are enhanced by the vinegar I covet.
Writing this has made my mouth water. I still have a little balsamic vinegar left before I get my hoped for gift and I just bought a bag of the Herb Salad mix.....
Happy Valentine’s Day and may you get whatever you like best.