06 July 2010
light, tender greens go crazy in early summer. there are so many types to choose from, so instead of narrowing it down, i try to throw in as much as possible for a lot of variety. i like a mixture of head lettuce (butter lettuce, green oak lettuce, red oak lettuce), leafy salad mix, and flavorful greens (mustard greens, spinach, arugula). our chard has been really beautiful in the garden, so i throw bits of those leaves in sometimes, too. wash and spin or pat dry all your lettuce, put your greens in a big salad bowl and tear or leave leafs whole, depending on preference.
this part is so fun! work by what's in season and what colors make you happy. i choose easter egg radishes because they are red, pink and purple, young carrots add a sweet crunch, and spring onions for extra flavor. add fresh herbs like basil, chives or even mint and - my favorite - edible flowers.
whereas in winter i grate carrots, in summer i cut them on a diagonal for maximum flavor and a big crunch. cut the radishes in half moons and chop any mixture of sweet onions, chives, green onions or garlic flowers. throw all these goods on top of the lettuce.
everyone has their favorite dressing and i usually tend towards a simple vinaigrette with mustard and honey. here is a shallot vinaigrette that i recently tried from olaiya land catering that was just perfect on top of a bed of lettuce. the recipe she gave is all approximate because dressing should be made to taste.
sherry vinegar (about 1/4 cup)
shallots, finely minced (about 2 tbs)
dijon mustard (about 1 tbs)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
best-quality extra virgin olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
mix all ingredients but the oil. add oil in thin stream, whisking until emulsified. taste and adjust seasoning
makes 1 cup
really, you can pull anything together and call it a salad. just harvest what is fresh in your garden and experiment with new things at the farmer's market, and remember to get creative!