Friday, June 8, 2012

The Salad Rules!

No, I'm not going to give you the top ten list of salad-making.  I'm here to share with you why a salad rules--why it should be at the top of your cullinary creations toolkit.  It's great for vegans, vegeterians and meat-eaters, it works with low-carb and high-carb diets, it's easy, it's portable, it's diverse and it can be a nutritional powerhouse.  For me, these reasons and many others mean that the SALAD RULES!

Adding Protein:  You already do this in a restaurant (Caesar salad with salmon or shrimp), so why not do it at home?  Prepare your salad, toss it and set it aside.  For each person, use one salmon steak or 8-10 large shrimp.  Heat a heavy pan, pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sprinkle your salmon or shrimp with a little salt and pepper and place into the pan, skin side down for the salmon.  Now, wait, wait...wait.  Depending on how hot your pan is, you'll wait about 3-5 minutes before turning.  Wait another 3-5 minutes, remove from the pan and place in a platter.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over everything and sprinkle with parsley, if you have it.  Serve beside the salad and allow everyone to serve themselves.  Instead of croutons, serve toasted and buttered baguette slices on the side.

I'm a Vegetarian:  Okay, no problem.  Boil one beautiful and perfect egg, allow it to cool, peel and cut into quarters.  Voila!  If that's too much trouble, go with a cup-full of black beans or chick peas.  Rinse, drain and add to your salad bowl.  Toasted almonds and cashews add protein too, so don't forget about them.  If you're feeling like something meatier (yes, the pun is intentional), how about a few thick slices of eggplant dipped in egg wahs and coated with crushed almonds?  Fry them in a little bit of oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and serve immediately on top of any luscious bed of salad greens. I know, your heart is racing now.  Very sexy salad work going on here!

Go, ahead, use your hands to eat a salad:  For those who are in a bit of hurry, why not consider turning your salad into a sandwich.  Magic?  No, just a little planning and you've got yourself a goodness-filled salad in a wrap.  Just save the dressing and use it as a dip.  You can use your favorite salad or slice up lettuce and cucumbers, mix in a few diced tomatoes, chopped green onions, chopped boiled eggs, grated carrots, shaved parmesan cheese or blue cheese crumbles, avocado and radish slices and grated zucchini and, golly-gee, that's an amazing meal on the run!!!  Remember to pack your dressing and that's one sandwich that your lunch buddies will be lusting after for a long time.

I've always enjoyed toasting a couple of French bread slices and using them to sandwich a good Greek salad.  Same ingredients--different way of serving and eating.

Variety IS the spice of life:  Some of my favorites are lentil salad with capers and feta cheese, potato and green bean salad, shrimp and lima bean salad...etc., etc., etc.

Toldjaso, the SALAD RULES!