There is just something good about salad. I mean, apart from the fact it can be such a healthy dish to eat. What I love about it is that it can be anything from a simple bowl of greens as a side dish to a meal on its own.
When I was at university I used to have a big Tupperware container that I’d use to make my salads. It was an anything-goes sort of event that involved going through everything in the fridge. It was, admittedly, nearly always only vegetables. So I’d get busy chopping up broccoli, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, apples, lettuce, and whatever else was lurking in the bottom drawer that didn’t look as though it might reach out and try to strangle me if I touched it. I admit, my housekeeping skills were never that brilliant, but I always had fresh vegetables in the fridge. Throw in some cheese, and a few Kalamata olives and voila! A meal! Why the Tupperware you ask? Salads have to be tossed so the dressing coats them and that is a skill all of its own. Doing the tossing while the salad was in a bowl invariably ended up in disaster. Half of what had been in the bowl was now on the kitchen counter or all over the floor. Failing that, if I actually managed to keep all the salad in the bowl then 95% of the dressing collected in a puddle on the bottom of the container. So I developed my very own technique of gradually adding the dressing then putting the lid on the Tupperware and just shaking it until everything was coated. That way I ended up with a perfectly dressed salad every time instead of a half empty bowl of naked vegetables and greens.
Now that I’m more mature – this is where you read “older” – I’ve learned the art of tossing salads without creating chaos. Yet I still think of salads in a very laissez-faire (I had to look that up for the correct spelling) sort of fashion. I don’t think there are rules for what belongs in a salad unless you’re calling it a Caesar Salad or one of the classic salads and then doing something else that has little to do with its namesake. That for some reason drives me completely nuts. However, if you’re making something for yourself then really the sky is the limit. As long as what you have on hand is fresh, preferably raw, then you’ve got a really good salad and you’re good to go! I love putting nuts, seeds, and dry fruits on salads to add some zing.
Salads can be dressed with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, but my all-time favourite right now is the dressing that we make at Olive Grove. It’s a balsamic dressing (I have a weakness for balsamic) that has just the right balance of flavours. Actually, the Asian dressing is brilliant. And the Italian. Oh and the Caesar! I love the variety and it is perfect to have on hand for those days where cracking out the oils, vinegar, herbs, and all those other things that make a great dressing are just… too much effort. You’ll see them in the salad section at Cold Storage. If the store near you isn’t stocking it, why not ask them to?