Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Simple Spring Salad

This was a very lovely and delicious spring salad that I served with a lemon vinaigrette (Vinaigrette 101 coming soon, trust) and, at the request of The Rob, an on-the-fly version of Chicken Marsala (recipe also coming soonhere -- it turned out DE-LI-cious).

It goes without saying that you can vary the ingredients and/or proportions of any salad recipe--this one is really just a springboard for ideas a step beyond the standard lettuce-and-tomatoes formula.

In particular, it being spring, I was excited to use peas in a salad, even if they were frozen rather than fresh. If you have access to fresh peas this (or any) spring, say, at your local farmers' market, ZOMG you must try them--you can get shelled ones or do the tedious shelling in front of the TV, and the taste and texture are to frozen peas as home-grown tomatoes' are to supermarket ones'. They will erase any memory of negotiating with your mom about how many more withered little khaki pellets you had to swallow before leaving the table.

Anyhoo, here's what I combined in this spring salad, for two people (multiply as desired, with the proportions to taste):

  • About a third of a pre-washed "herbs and greens mix" from one of those plastic clamshells, that was strong on dill (you could also just buy and dice dill separately)

  • A wedge of red onion, thinly sliced round-wise

  • Half a cucumber, sliced round-wise

  • A small head of endive, sliced round-wise

  • A handful of frozen peas, drained after 5 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water (again, if you are able to use fresh peas, the salad will be insanely more delicious)

    Toss the above in lemon vinaigrette or any olive-oil-based dressing of your choice, and divide it onto two plates. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a few slices of Parmesan cheese from a solid wedge onto each plate. Drizzle the center of each salad with olive oil, if you like. I recommend serving with a dry white wine.

    (Instead of the Parmesan, you could use crumbled Feta, either as a garnish or added to the tossed ingredients. I actually think that might be an even better flavor combo, but the Parmesan seemed more appropriate with the Chicken Marsala.)

    If you come up with your own variation on this salad, please do tell in the comments!
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