Once upon a time in a far away place, let’s say during the ancient days of the Roman empire, a well-to-do citizen found himself all alone for dinner. The wife hadn’t gone grocery shopping and the only thing to eat in their kitchen was a dish of cold “herbs.” (I wonder how cold they were. I can just picture a Flintstone type of refrigerator.) In the ancient days of Rome anything green was called, “herb.” Were wines called “vinnie?”
This well-to-do citizen thought that all by themselves the herbs had no taste, so, he mixed them together. He went foraging through the cupboards and Flintstone-type refrigerator and came across a flask of olive oil, a lemon, some salt, of course the tastless herbs and some precious spices from the neighbors to the East. Mixing and tasting as he went along, he made a “sauce” that pleased his palate. He poured the sauce over the greens and lo and behold…a salad was created!
Very pleased with himself he passed this recipe to his wife—and the salad, as we know it today, was born! Now the man of the house could sit back in his Roman recliner, watch his Roman tv and ask his little woman if his supper and salad were ready yet.
Fast forward to this day and age. Salads have come to be anything we want them to be. They take their place anywhere on the menu from appetizer to dessert. Men are still in their recliners pretending to be the boss of the house and the women are letting them think that. Bless everyone’s salad making hearts.
APPETIZER SALADS: Appetizer salads had their start in California and most people think they’re a fine idea. It is thought a small serving of a green salad whets the appetite for the courses that follow it.
GREEN SALADS: It seems that men prefer tossed green salads more than other salads. They also like to make tossed salads. Such a salad may be served with the main course or separately. Be sure the dressing is well seasoned and add it to the greens at the very last minute.
There are many greens besides lettuce—feel free to mix and match to your hearts content. These include: raw spinach leaves, romaine lettuce, escarole, chicory, chinese cabbage, red cabbage, French endive and any other green leafy types that are hanging out in the produce department.
HEARTY SALADS: Hearty salads are made with a sure to please formula. Made with chicken, tuna, salmon, shellfish, hard boiled eggs, ham…..you see where I’m going with this. A taco salad would classify as a hearty salad. There is a great tasting mixture of cooked ground beef, beans, lettuce, cheese, etc. It is a meal all by itself. When you’re done eating the salad, you eat the tortilla bowl and you’ve just had yourself one great meal.
DESSERT SALADS: Combine salad and dessert in a single course with a creation of a combo of cottage cheesse and fruit, mix it yourself fruit salad, fruit and gelatin or fruit, gelatin and cottage cheese all wrapped into one package. Dessert salads also make a great light on your tummy lunch.
* Buy the freshest salad greens you can find, wash them, dry thoroughly and store in the refrigerator in the vegetable bin, in a bag or wrapped in paper towels until ready to serve. Fresh, clean, crisp greens are the basis of a good green salad.
* All ingredients should be well drained before they are combined with the dressing, to avoid giving the dressing a watery consistency.
* When mixing salads, toss the ingredients gently. Refrain from stirring vigorously.
* Salads and their liquid cousins, soups are a great way to use up leftover vegetables.
* The flavor of salads containing cooked veggies or meat is greatly enhanced when they are marinated in the dressing. To do this, let foods stand in the dressing in a cool place until they are well seasoned. If you wish, drain before serving.
* Use a variety of dressings. It is not necessary to make a dressing for each salad. Most dressings keep very well in the refrigerator.
* Avoid too much garnish. Depend on the natural color and flavor of foods for an attractive and appetizing salad. Arrange salads lightly and attractively.
* Salad recipes can be found at ruddysrecipes.blogspot.com.