Monday, July 27, 2009

Do Not Make Boring Salads

Rethinking the Dreaded Salad Course

It never fails.
You sit down to dinner at someone's house and out comes the salad; a plate filled with mixed field greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced cukes and other boring ingredients.
I like salad, but with a great meal I don't want too much because I don't want to waste valuable stomach space with a bunch of greens.
I reduced this salad in volume so it would give the impression of being smaller.
I made this for Mid Sis's birthday feast on Saturday.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Basil, Toasted Pine Nuts, Turkish Apricots and Shaved Peccorino with Sherry Vinaigrette

1 package organic baby spinach
20 fresh basil leaves, sliced into a chiffonade
12 small dried apricots, cut into thin strips
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1/4 lb. peccorino or other hard cheese, shaved
sherry vinaigrette to taste

Put spinach in mixing bowl
Take basil leaves and nestle them on top of each other in descending size. Roll into a tight bunch, like a cigar. Slice into thin ribbons from end to end.
Add to spinach and mix in well. Too much basil or basil in too large a piece stings the mouth, hence the thin ribbons.
Add dressing and mix well. Taste it.
Return to refrigerator for at least two hours so the spinach and basil absorb the dressing and reduce in volume.
Place a mound of the spinach mix in the middle of a salad plate. Adorn with apricots, pine nuts and cheese.
No need for salt or pepper, unless you must.


  1. Fran sent me here, and I'm drooling! This looks fabulous!


  2. That sounds incredible. I'm keepin' this one!


  3. I knew you were from Texas when I saw those wonderful Central Market greens. We buy a big container of the mixed greens and all eat the whole thing each week. No more rotten salad. Your food looks great! Many times I've tried to photograph something I've made, but then had the coloring make it look gross.

  4. I think the photos I take really don't do the food justice. I know the tricks ad agencies use in food styling, but they mostly all render the food inedible.
    To do it right I'd need better lighting and more patience. It's hard to shoot and cook at the same time.