The title of this recipe day should be ‘Really Obscene Salads’ but I liked the Seinfeld reference (who doesn’t? rewatching it occasionally is interesting; it is so culturally referential that when it is good, it’s good, and when it’s bad, it’s a real groaner – or shall we say, ‘no longer with the times’). What makes them big and obscene is that we say, ‘hey, let’s have a nice salad for dinner tonite’ and then all the ‘toppings’ make it a whopper of a meal.
For example, one of my favorite salad meals we make is a bed of greens, with sliced pork tenderloin, roasted golden beet wedges, goat or bleu or feta cheese, and toasted pumpkin seeds or pecans, dressed with a rice wine/olive or avocado oil vinaigrette. If we really want to send it over the top, we cut up some sourdough bread (which we always have around) into cubes and bake with a little olive oil/S&P/dried herb like thyme/sage/rosemary, and have croutons.
Like tonite. Tonight we are likely (I haven’t made it yet so I’m speculating based on what’s in the fridge) to have little salmon filets with roasted cauliflower, over a bed of CSA young salad greens and sprouts, local feta, and toasted pine nuts – the kid will likely refuse the cauliflower and have cucumber (she’s not a cooked vegetable kind of gal, that time will come, we don’t push it, as long as she gets a veg in), served with thick toasted slices of parmesan bread (it needs to get eaten up!). The salad dressed with some sort of sexy vinaigrette (I came across some honey balsamic vinegar this past Summer, mmmmm).
Not too long ago we also make a House Cobb Salad – avocado, bacon, Backyard cocktail tomatoes, local jack cheese (I like to keep my vegetables close/clean, and my dairy closer/cleaner), thawed shredded Thanksgiving turkey, salad greens (they keep coming every week in the CSA – and it’s a food sin to waste them) with pea shoots & arugula, and medium boiled eggs (truly our yolks stun us every time – so lovely) and red wine vinaigrette.
See? Our salads are always over the top. They are meals on greens. Built to satisfy a guy who works really hard and a little gal that is growing. Don’t get us wrong, we are not afraid of vegetable only salads, either. Many times I cube up our local Heiwa tofu (it has the most amazing texture), soak in a little olive oil/amino acids/diced garlic for a bit, then roll in brown rice flour, then bake until crispy (sometimes drizzling a little more oil over top for ensured crispiness) or just saute naked until the edges are yum and golden. Or we add roasted spaghetti squash and green olives with feta over salad greens (I like the hot to cold ratio in my dinner salads, apparently). Small roasted potatoes and green beans with kalamata olives and fried capers over greens sounds amazing to me right now (with or with feta, but likely with…).
We rarely have a ‘side salad’ with just a few veg and none of us are really fond of iceberg lettuce (unless it’s summer, then a refreshing wedge with some lime and sea salt is nice), so a salad-meal it is! A couple of seasons ago now, we went to our lovely neighbor’s for dinner and I realized what an alien our child is to many things (like, she just had saltines for the first time yesterday – because I found organic ones finally) – they put the usual myriad of salad dressings in bottles on the table and her eyes widened – she had no idea that there was really anything other than vinaigrette (in fact, when we used to live in Portland and went to restaurants, she would order ‘her favorite salad dressing’ confusing the servers – I had to explain it was just vinaigrette). It was a whole new world, for a day.
But a nice salad is adaptable, you can personalize your ingredients, your dressing, etc and if you call it a salad, it’s healthy, right?