Salad doesn't interest me very much.
Usually, I just think, hmmm, fresh vegetables, nice. At home, we make perfectly nice lettuce salads with a simple vinaigrette . . . but I almost never go back for seconds.
Occasionally, and I mean occasionally, a salad makes me sit up straight and look at the big blue glass salad bowl to make sure I can eat some more.
Tonight, we happened upon one of those salads.
We had tender young kale and some local asparagus that needed to be eaten stat. I ripped up the raw kale and tossed it in the bowl, while I set the asparagus to boiling in salted water.
While the asparagus was simmering away, I pulled out a mug and made the vinaigrette. I wanted fairly strong flavours since I knew the asparagus would be sturdy and assertive.
I pulled out the Japanese ume plum vinegar from the back of the cupboard because it has a special kind of round salty flavour to it. Put a splash of that in the mug – maybe one tablespoon? Pulled out the grainy mustard and dropped in a teaspoon or so. Ground salt and pepper over. Drizzled as much maple syrup as I could get from the end of the syrup bottle – maybe three teaspoons?
Whisked it all together and started drizzling in fruity olive oil. I would say I used about three tablespoons of oil all together. Tasted and added another teaspoon of grainy mustard. Tasted again.
When the asparagus was bright green and tender-crisp, I chopped it into inch-long lengths and threw it on the kale. Spooned some vinaigrette over and sent it to the table.
It was absolutely heavenly. Suddenly we had a new summer salad template: raw kale with something steamed or boiled or roasted thrown on top and mixed with vinaigrette. I remembered to take a picture about 30 seconds before we ate it all.
With our bumper crop of kale, we will do this throughout the summer. I think you should, too.
You can make endless variations on the vinaigrette. Start with some kind of vinegar – red wine, sherry, rice – and mix it bit with a bit of mustard and something sweet, like maple syrup, honey or sugar. Grind a good amount of salt and pepper over it. Then slowly whisk in any kind of oil you like, about three times as much as the vinegar you used. Taste, season again, and toss with your summer salad.
Here's to summer salads!
|Bonus photo! |
North Saskatchewan River at 10:15 p.m. on the summer solstice.
one year ago: chewy granola bars and longest day link love
two years ago: hop & go fetch it: pacific rim edition and penne with sausage and greens
three years ago: tomato cheddar soufflé with asparagus and kathleen claiborne's hot cakes
four years ago: chilli pasta