Salad needn’t be just lettuce, tomato

  • By J.M. Hirsch / Associated Press
  • Tuesday, June 1, 2004 9:00pm
  • Life

CONCORD, N.H. – On too many dinner tables the salad is an afterthought, a random toss of greens and garden castoffs offered for seemingly no other reason than that the host thinks it ought to be.

No doubt you have encountered these salads of limp greens or watery iceberg lettuce in a jumble of carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. Their only advantage is how easily they are forgotten.

It need not be that way. Salads can stand on their own merits, complement the meal and even challenge the palate.

As so often is the case, simplicity is best. My favorite salad is an elegant yet rustic heap of mesclun greens drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and balsamic vinegar. The construction may be simple, but the tastes are bold and complex.

That same basic salad also can be dressed up to suit different themes. Asian on the menu? Substitute toasted sesame oil and seasoned rice vinegar, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

In fall, add thin slices of apples or pears. For more oomph, toss the greens with roasted whole garlic cloves and drizzle with cider vinegar and toasted hazelnut oil.

For a more substantial yet equally simple salad, try an Italian tomato and mozzarella platter. Alternate slices of Roma tomatoes with water-packed mozzarella. Top with basil leaves, salt, freshly ground black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil.

For a Greek version of the same dish, substitute crumbled feta cheese for the mozzarella and replace the basil with fresh thyme and pitted Kalamata olives.

For another fantastic dinner salad, try a strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing. This simple salad of romaine, strawberry slices and almond slivers from Cooking Light magazine has received many rave reviews from our dinner guests.

Strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing

3tablespoons sugar

3tablespoons light mayonnaise

2tablespoons fat-free milk

1tablespoon poppy seeds

1tablespoon white wine vinegar

110-ounce bag romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

1cup sliced strawberries

2tablespoons toasted slivered almonds

Combine the sugar, mayonnaise, milk, poppy seeds and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk well. Place the lettuce in a large bowl. Add the strawberries and almonds and toss lightly. Divide among individual serving plates and drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon dressing.

Makes six servings.

From Cooking Light magazine

Mango-cucumber salad

18-inch section English cucumber, not peeled, cut lengthwise into quarters and thinly sliced

1green mango, peeled and cut into julienne strips

1/4cup slivered red onion

3green onions, finely chopped

2tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

1/2red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (with or without seeds, depending on heat tolerance)

2tablespoons lime juice

2tablespoons white vinegar

2tablespoons vegetable oil

1tablespoon sugar

Salt, to taste

Place the cucumber and mango in a large bowl. Add the red onions, green onions, half of the cilantro, red pepper and jalapeno. Toss until well mixed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, oil and sugar until emulsified. Season to taste with salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining cilantro.

Makes six servings.

From Byron Ayanoglu’s “125 Best Vegetarian Recipes”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

Cameron Hewitt
Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley looks pastoral but it hides a powerful dose of natural wonder.
Rick Steves’ Europe: In the Swiss Alps, the laws of nature rule

The travel guru learned to respect the power of nature in the shadow of Switzerland’s towering Jungfrau.

Inside Elle Marie Hair Studio in Smokey Point. (Provided by Acacia Delzer)
The best hair salon in Snohomish County

You voted, we tallied. Here are the results.

For more than a thousand years, Czech leaders – from kings and emperors to Nazis, communists, and presidents – have ruled from Prague Castle, regally perched on a hill above the Vltava River. Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli
Rick Steves’ Europe: History lives in Prague and its hilltop castle

It’s one of Europe’s best-preserved cities, having been spared from last century’s bombs.

Alarm clock in the middle of the night insomnia or dreaming
Trouble sleeping? Try these tips for getting a good night’s rest

Many adults turn to sleep aids, including alcohol, to help them rest, without realizing that their hectic lifestyles may be contributing to their sleeplessness.

The Stumbling Fiddler Band is scheduled to perform March 3 in Everett. (Photo provided by Port Gardner Bay Music Society)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Get ready for St. Patrick’s Day with music by the Stumbling Fiddler Band in Everett.

I was charged an extra $250 for a mistaken car rental upgrade

When Leah Page picks up her rental car from Thrifty, it charges her a $250 upgrade fee. Can it do this without her permission, and how can she get a refund?

Naomi Jacobson as Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer in "Becoming Dr. Ruth" at Village Theatre in Everett. (Auston James)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

“Becoming Dr. Ruth,” which tells the sex therapist’s amazing back story, is now showing at Village Theatre in Everett.

Over 200 years, the magic lantern transformed into an educational peacock

Regarded as magic in the 1650s, this device was refined into the more scientific sounding sciopticon by the mid-1800s.

Market for sale plants. Many plants in pots
Snohomish Garden Club plans annual plant sale

The event is scheduled for April 27 at Swan’s Trail Farms. Proceeds will go to scholarships.

Start planting now so you can stop to smell your own roses all summer long

Late winter to early spring is perfect for planting roses. And with so many varieties to consider, there’s no time to waste.

The 2024 Mazda3 hatchback. (Mazda)
2024 Mazda3 adds a Carbon Turbo trim and more safety features

The charismatic compact is available as a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback.

Cousins Penny Leslie and Sidney Baker work together on a mural inside a jail cell at the Mukilteo Police Department on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
No more staring at blank canvas in Mukilteo police holding cells

Bright murals now adorn the walls. The artwork is intended to calm and relax detainees.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.