Sunday, September 16, 2007

You don't make friends with salad. Or do you?

Salad seems to have gotten a strange reputation. It's food, but it appears that allot of people don't think of it as "real food". To many people, it's what comes before the food. A preview from the kitchen. A sign that whoever is in charge has a clue what their doing. But not "real food". Since it comes before the "real food", it can't really fill you up at all, should it? So, salad, then, is something light, something that won't really do anything for your hunger, something that gets you ready for the real food. Right?

I don't think so. And I think there are more people starting to think this way as well. Salad is "real food". It always has been. I like salad. I just finished eating salad for a late evening supper. Some might think, "Well he had a salad because he doesn't want to get filed up before he goes to bed". Well, that's why I ate a small salad. But I ate a salad for a few main reasons. For one it tastes great. A simple salad has two typical parts to it. The greens, and the dressing. And you need to have both, and you can't get stingy on either. Use good greens. Fresh lettuce, maybe even two kinds. Maybe some onions for a little bite, green or red are very nice. Tomatoes for some nice variety, maybe even some yellow or red peppers to mix it up a bit. You don't have to get overly complex, keep it simple. But don't be afraid to get creative. Try some fresh nuts, or some mandarin oranges.

Then there's the dressing. Some say it's the most important part, but without the greens you've got no salad, so I would say they're both equally as important. But, use a sub par dressing, or one that you just plain don't like, and you won't want anymore than just a few mouthfulls. Different occasions can call for diferent dressings. A dressing is what can really give the salad i's character. Sometimes you're in the mood for something lite. How about a nice vinigarette? Even vinigar and oil. But say you're in the mood for something a bit heavier, something that will stick to your insides for a little bit longer and keep you satisfied for a few hours. A heavier cream dressing could be in order, thousand island or maybe even a smooth California dressing. But be sure to choose something that compliments your greens. If you're using exotic greens, like water chestnuts and maybe some sliced almonds, don't use something simple like oil and vinegar. Try a raspberry vinegarette. Perhaps a French onion cream dressing.

Salad can be complex. It can be simple. It can be anything you want it to be. But be assured, a good salad can leave you more than satisfied. Some say it comes before the food. I say it is the food. Salad is surely a prime example of a universal food. You can make it out of almost anything, and every culture around the world has it's own localization of salad. Surely something this widespread can't be something that isn't "real food". Sure, it's more food than some can handle in a single sitting.

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