Salads

Making a basic green salad is very simple, especially if you have the greens rinsed and crisped ahead of time, and the dressing prepared as well. Just remember to give the dressing 30 minutes to come to room temperature, then all you need to do is toss everything together at the last minute -- the greens, the dressing and any extras you want to add, such as nuts, herbs, crumbled bacon, etc. If you want to be a little dramatic, you can do this at the table. The salad can be served before or after the main course, it is simply a matter of personal preference.

I have found that a large wooden bowl works best for tossed salad -- 16 or 17 inches is ideal. With a bowl this size, you can toss salads for one or two people or as many as 10, and the greens won't spill out. Here are two light leafy green salads and one unusual warm salad:

Watercress and Endive
with Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3 bunchs watercress leaf, large stems removed, rinsed and crisped
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, core removed, and leaves thinly sliced

    Toss everything together in large salad bowl; mix in 1/2 cup Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette just before serving.

Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette:

  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sweet prepared mustard
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Whisk the oil, vinegar, and mustard together in a small bowl until completely emulsified.
  2. Stir in the seasonings and optional herbs. (An alternative method is to put all the ingredients in a glass cruet with a rubber gasket or in a leakproof jar and shake well.)
  3. If you are not using the dressing immediately, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature, and stir (or shake) just before serving.

Mixed Lettuces with Toasted Walnuts,
Bacon, and Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 1/2 lbs mixed lettuce, rinsed and crisped
  • 4 ounces bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 egg, hard boiled, then chopped
  • 2 ounces walnut halves, toasted

    Toss everything together in large salad bowl; mix in 1/2 cup Sherry Walnut Vinaigrette just before serving.

Sherry Dressing Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sherry
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  1. Whisk the oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar and 2 to 3 tablespoons sherry, and mustard together in a small bowl until completely emulsified.
  2. Stir in the seasonings and optional herbs. (An alternative method is to put all the ingredients in a glass cruet with a rubber gasket or in a leakproof jar and shake well.)
  3. If you are not using the dressing immediately, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature, and stir (or shake) just before serving.

Warm Cabbage Salad
with Apples, Feta, and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp shelled pistachio, toasted

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onions and saute 2 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat and add the cabbage. Saute for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly, until the cabbage begins to wilt slightly.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and combine well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Stir in the apples, feta, and pistachios.
  6. Before serving, rewarm over a low heat, tossing constantly, for 1 minute.

SOURCE: Great Cooking in Minutes, authored by Judith Ets-Hokin. Copyright 1995 by Celestial Arts (P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707). Reprinted with permission.

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