I'm inspired to toss up a fresh spring salad. April and May is the time to really enjoy spring greens when they are sweet and at their peak; later in summer the flavors tend to bitter a bit with the heat. Whether you are preparing salad for two or planning your Mother's Day brunch, here are few tips + recipes to make plating up your spring salad even better.
Be sure to do the prep with your delicate spring lettuce; submerge leaves in cold water repeatedly until there is no evidence of soil or sand. Then give those leaves a good spin, so your homemade vinaigrette will easily coat your leaves. Wet leaves repell the dressing.
Good Stuff Pick - OXO Salad Spinner
George's Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Makes 2 1/2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook
1 TB dried chives
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp capers or chopped green olives
1/2 tsp lite soy sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton
1 recipe Basic Vinaigette (recipe to follow)
Combine the chives, parsley,capers or olives, and lite soy sauce with the cream and half the cheese and blend well. Add the vinaigrette and stir in the remaining cheese. Let the dressing stand at room temperature for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.
George's Basic Vinaigrette
Makes 2 cups | Know Your Fire Cookbook
"Use whichever vinegar appeals to you: If using balsamic, cut the amount in half."
1 1/4 cups virgin olive oil
3/4 cups vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat with a fork or a whisk to blend. Or place the ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until they're well blended.
Allow the dressing to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to develop the flavor.
There are four main kinds of lettuce to choose from: Butterhead (Bibb), Crisphead (Iceberg), Looseleaf (Cutting) and Romaine.
Looseleaf lettuce make colorful tender leaf salads in chartreuse, deep green and bronzy reds.
Crisphead lettuce contain curved, overlapping leaves which form crispy, firm round heads. Inside, creamy white leaves are tightly packed. Deep green outer leaves are delicious too.
Romaine lettuce contain elongated, thick leaves which are crisp and savory.
Butterhead lettuce is the largest and best-flavored group of lettuces. Tender leaf lettuces form a tightly folded head with delicate buttery flavor. Typically smaller heads than other types.