Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Simple Salad

Wash lettuce, add vinaigrette and serve.

That's it. Crazy right? But it is so satisfying and delicious, you won't believe you never thought of it before. 

The first time I had this salad was at a dinner party in Germany. When I saw this giant bowl of salad leaves sitting out on the buffet table, I asked the hostess, "Would you like me to slice the vegetables for you?"–thinking she'd simply been too busy preparing the main meal to cut them up herself.

"Oh!" she said, surprised, and no doubt a little amused at my American naiveté. "But this is a delicacy here."

Then she went on to explain how in her part of Bavaria, everyone looks forward to the first tender lettuces of the spring, and that you would never detract from their sweet flavor by serving them with anything but the lightest of vinaigrettes. 

I was skeptical, but she was right. It was an enlightening salad. I had three servings.

Today, I love making this salad whenever I don't have the time to chop a lot of vegetables. I'll also make it right after I've thinned a row of my baby lettuces, and I don't have the heart to toss the thinnings in the compost heap. 

It goes well as a palate-cleansing compliment to a heavy dish, like cheesy shrimp and grits or turnip turnovers. And it's a great way to try out new combinations of flavored Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. My current go-to combination is Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar with Basil Olive Oil, which practically turns this simple salad into a dessert.

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