Happy V-Day With Salad, Shrimp and Someone Special

Hey, why not keep it simple on this Valentine's Day? Go ahead. No fancy footwork in the kitchen, no going out for a steak and lobster dinner. This year, focus on you and your special someone spending a little laid-back time together and make the food prep easy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the food should not be amazing! Heavens, no! But, today it should be easy, so that you can spend the time playing instead of cooking. Actually, while the salad is subtle, it is by no means bland. You'll get a little zip and zing here and there, in between the gentle flavors of fresh greens, peppery arugula and the creamy and sharp cheese presence. Here's what I mean.

Valentine’s Day Salad

6 cups loosely packed mixed young salad greens
2 -3 cups loosely packed young arugula leaves
1 cup snipped cilantro (no, not chopped, either plucked or snipped, so it becomes one of the salad greens)
½ of a medium red onion, sliced very thin
2 cups (about) haricot vert (dropped into boiling salted water, allowed to dance around for about 5 minutes and then shocked in an ice-water bath and drained)
1 ear of sweet corn (boiled for 5 minutes and shocked in ice-water bath and cut off the cob)
2 t. very thinly sliced fresh ginger
½ to 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped coarsely
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Add as much as you want of the following.
Pecorino Romano, grated
Asiago, shaved or thinly sliced

Make sure that (wherever possible) the greens are organic. This is a tender lovin’ salad. We don’t want impurities and chemicals to invade our light and subtly flavored mix of tender young greens and vegetables. No way!

Assemble all of the players, grab a big and beautiful bowl and combine. Don’t even bother mixing the dressing. Just sprinkle the lemon juice and olive oil right into the bowl over the mix of greens and veggies, toss and top off with the cheeses. Take to the table for a beautiful presentation, toss after all the compliments have been delivered and serve.

I like to offer large boiled shrimp on the side and a few pieces of crusty bread.
Add a bottle of your favorite white wine or friendly French rosé and spread a tablecloth on the floor for a picnic-style supper. Then, tune in to the Edith Piaf station on Pandora.com and get into some funny business with your favorite playmate.

© 2010 Despina Panagakos Yeargin


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