For the longest time I didn’t like salads. Then I went to France…. and that changed. I’m not sure why/how the salads there taste so much better. I make my salads differently now, and I even look forward to them.
One of my favorite salads was at a seaside cafe in Cassis (I think). I was going to get a pizza but l noticed some of our neighbors has this wonderful looking salad with an exquisite thin slice of meat on it. It was ham, but definitely not something from Oscar Mayer (no offense Oscar Mayer—my husband really loves your bologna!). So I order “une salad avec jambon,” and that was a good salad.
I made a salad this weekend that sort of reminded me of that wonderful lunch.
Here are the components:
1. Lettuce: I like Boston or Butterhead. Enough crunch without the bitterness On head is enough to two large salads or four small side salads.
2. Tomato: not to sound like a snob, but in season local really does taste better. Back yard even more so (unfortunately my plant is just too tired…).
3. Boiled egg: excellent inexpensive source of protein, and always yummy.
4. Black olives: if you have a nice grocery store with a sort of “bulk” section, you could get just a few really good ones. You don’t need a lot.
5. Croutons: I bought them for years then Mark Bittman convinced me to try making my own. I do now, it’s totally easy and do able. Add olive oil, cubes of day old bread, and a smashed garlic clove to a pan pre-heated to medium-low. I add salt + Italian dried herbs. Add more oil if needed (the seasonings should stick). I then work on the rest of the salad, keeping an on on my pan to make sure nothing burns and occasionally giving a stir. It’s done when it’s toasted like croutons (only should take a few minutes). Today I used a bun I got for like 50 cents from the soup section of the grocery store yesterday. Brioche…yum.
6. PROSCIUTTO: BEST PART OF THE SALAD. Prosciutto is awesome. It can also be expensive, if you have a deli section with people and a counter that sells you this– use them. I only use one thin slice per salad; which wasn’t expensive at all.
7. Dressing: minced garlic (I used a piece from my crouton pan so it was a little cooked), Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. My oil to vinegar is like a 3: 1 ratio. Everything else is a very small amount.
And Enjoy! It sounds like a lot to do but really isn’t and is well worth the extra effort.