I have a really hard time justifying writing out actual recipes for salads. I think by nature a salad should be whatever sounds good mixed with whatever you happen to have on hand and just about anything goes. I love to have something crunchy, salty, sweet and a protein. Sometimes I just want a bowl of greens when somedays I just want a bunch of chopped veggies, you just never know. I am a big fan of homemade dressings, something light and fresh where you control the sweetness usually makes me the happiest. I like to add things at the end like toasted nuts, seeds or even pink peppercorns. Salads for me are all about texture, flavor and whatever you are craving. I Recently made a good one at my friend Corrie’s house in Nashville one night to accompany this beautiful wild salmon that we picked up from Whole Foods for dinner. I rubbed the fish with some truffled cracked peppercorns that she had in the cupboard and sliced Meyer lemons and fresh ginger to layer on top and drizzled it with olive oil, covered it and set it in the fridge to soak it in all day. I baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes, it smelled amazing. So back to the salad… We had a huge container of baby spinach and she was really in the mood for this caesar dressing that she had in the fridge so I tossed the spinach in a little of the dressing with the juice of a Meyer Lemon then added, toasted pecans, fresh blueberries and blackberries, avocado and big curls of parmesan cheese. I put the salmon on top of the salad pile and we went to town. I think her exact quote was “You know this is a $30.00 salad right?” She is a chef by the way, I was really happy she liked it and yes it was awesome.
I always try to keep fresh veggies at the house, shredded carrots and cabbage, greens or lettuce of some sort, nuts, seeds, berries you just never know what will sound good day by day. I find that if I have the house full of good stuff I’m much more likely to eat it instead of going out. I tend to under dress my salads to let the flavor and texture of the ingredients really come through but more then not I just end up using a really nice olive oil and vinegar with a fresh grind of black pepper. I am often disappointed when I go out to eat and I order a salad and it has three times the dressing that is necessary, it happened the other day actually. I ordered an Asian cabbage salad with grilled chicken and a “Lime Vinaigrette” I’m not sure what it was exactly but it seemed like there was about a half a cup of mayo on it and it was not so good. The same thing goes for coleslaw, I think it should have hardly any dressing, I like to use just a little bit of poppyseed dressing with some fresh lemon juice. The cabbage should be crisp and you should not be able to really see the dressing on it, it should just be an accent to the veggies. I also like to use salsa on my salads sometimes too, it’s a nice way to get a little heat and more veggies into your salad without overdressing it. I think this Red White and Black Bean Salad from www.katheats.com looks amazing and I can’t wait to give it a try.
One of my favorite go to vinaigrettes is as follows and it’s really nice on a pasta salad too.
Lemon & Honey Vinaigrette
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 3/4 Cup Olive Oil (I use a nice grassy green one)
- 2-3 Tbl Honey
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Pour everything into a jar with a lid and shake until combined.