One night last week, I was at a loss. I had a relatively full fridge, yet I didn’t really have any specific recipes in mind, nor did I feel particularly excited about making a big mess (and then subsequently cleaning said mess) in the kitchen. So, I decided to make a couple of salads.
On cooking shows, particularly of the reality TV variety, much snootery abounds when a chef tries to pass off a salad as a culinary work of art. While I generally agree that a salad is simpler to prepare than, say, a perfect consomme or bread from scratch, I do admit that I have had some really superb versions and some truly dreadful ones. For me, the key to a good salad is textural variety. I don’t want to break my jaw with all of the crunching, but I also don’t want a pile of mush.
For this salad, the greens (mostly spinach) and tomatoes were soft, so I added crunch with carrots, radishes, and cukes. For a meaty protein punch, I sliced half of a chicken breast I had cooked earlier in the week. For sweetness, I caramelized an onion. For tanginess, I just whipped up a basic balsamic vinegrette. Finally, for richness–and just because I can–I placed an over-easy egg right on top. Yum!
Instead of the chicken and the egg, Jason’s salad got sauteed shrimp, smoked mozzarella (a strange combo, but he liked it), and croutons.
What is on YOUR perfect salad?