A Perfect Salad
Savoring Fresh Garden Greens
It may seem too simple, but the simplicity is what makes it. Fresh from the garden, baby salad greens are incomparably tender and succulent. Bellingham food personality and cookbook author, Mary Ellen Carter, prepares baby lettuce salad virtually as is. “When it’s this good, you don’t need to do anything with it,” she says. “You’re messing with perfection!”
To make a “perfect” salad, Mary Ellen washes tender mixed lettuce and arranges the leaves on a plate in an attractive mix of shapes and colors. She tops the greens with a homemade vinaigrette of Italian red wine vinegar, virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. For the dressing, she recommends using only the highest quality vinegar and oil. “It’s only as good as the olive oil you put on top of it,” she says.
As for salads, she says, “The whole idea is the simplicity of it, the freshness, and the ease.” Fresh-picked tender lettuce from the garden or farm: “It’s perfect. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
A Perfect Salad: Tender Baby Lettuce with Italian Vinaigrette
4 handfuls of tender salad greens
Vinaigrette (makes 1/4 cup):
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
3–4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1. Wash the salad greens and gently spin or pat them dry, taking care not to damage the tender leaves.
2. Prepare the vinaigrette: Pour the vinegar into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and stir. Whisk in olive oil and grind the black pepper to taste.
3. Dress the salad just before eating.