Sage Hill’s Patriotic Kitchen…..
Well…Yes…if one thinks about it and depending on what patriotism actually means…and, what “salad” actually means….hmmm, this could be deep!!
Fear not, I’ll explain…
Although the ancient Greeks and Romans did not use the word “salad,” they enjoyed a variety of dishes with raw vegetables dressed with vinegar, oil, and herbs. Pliny the Elder in Natural History, for instance, reported that salads (acetaria) were composed of those garden products that “needed no fire for cooking and saved fuel, and which were a resource to store and always ready” (Natural History, XIX, 58). They were easy to digest and were not calculated to overload the senses or stimulate the appetite.
The medical practitioners Hippocrates and Galen believed that raw vegetables easily slipped through the system and did not create obstructions for what followed, therefore they should be served first. Others reported that the vinegar in the dressing destroyed the taste of the wine, therefore they should be served last. This debate has continued ever since.
The history goes back even earlier, but trust me, you do not want to go there!!
It seems to me, in many ways salad has become an escape from too many choices and sometimes no choices…of the best foods.
I find salads to be intriguing, works of art and if eaten in a certain manner….an experience of Culinary Bliss!
Example….the oldest history of this dish explains the layering aspect…(not tossed or mixed)
It does open up a plethora of flavors when eaten from a layered design…
In my culinary dictionary, Iceberg lettuce is the worst example of edible greens…it has no flavor, no nutritional value and almost impossible to digest.
Romaine, Butter Crunch, Corn Salad Mix and a host of other greens are much better choices….Romaine being at the top for nutritional value…
Always break/tear the lettuce/greens instead of chopping….the latter cuts off or slows down the release of flavor and nutrients.
(*each of these ingredients are a layer-separated by a light layer of your greens)
Asparagus spears,cut on a diagonal
Sweet onion/half moon slices (cauliflower can substitute)
Carrots or kale stalks/cut on a diagonal
Peaches/slices/fresh or canned
Sweet Yellow peppers
Walnuts or pecans…I like the flavor the pecan imparts….
As you layer sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt, fresh ground pepper and a light dash of your favorite dressing…Poppy-seed is excellent on any salad with fruit.
Also Olive oil with extracts of orange and other flavors are delicious.
Now comes the most important step of having the ultimate salad experience!
Do Not take your fork and mix/toss all these ingredients…use your fork to spear down inside the layers….with each bite you will get a different and distinct taste/flavor….this opens and tantalizes your taste-buds, activates your digestive system to standing at attention….
If possible eat without bread or crackers….if not possible…toasted French bread would be a good flavor match…crispy and good!
All foods have a complimentary companion…get that basic understanding and the kitchen will be more inviting!
Tis the season…design your own culinary favorites and simplify!