While I have access to a bounty of garden-fresh salad greens, daily, I'm creating different and interesting ways to eat them.
I used to think the loose salad mix at the market was tasty and good value; at around $6.99 pound, I could buy a big bag and make it last a few days.
Once spring arrives, the locally-grown farmer's market loose salad mix offers greater variety, and thus flavor, for similar dollar value.
If the garden on the property I'm care-taking wasn't bursting with spring greens, I'd definitely shop my local farmer's market for salad greens.
Or I'd consider growing my own!
For some, a green salad's yum factor is dependent on the selection and flavor of the leaves. For others, it's the dressing.
I like a combination of both interesting greens and tasty dressing. And while I understand the convenience of the myriad of bottled dressings available at the market, there is nothing more delicious than unadulterated home-made vinaigrette.
I say unadulterated because if you read the labels on store-bought dressings, such as a simple vinaigrette, you'll note that the list of ingredients includes a whole lot more than oil and vinegar!
It's really very easy to make your own vinaigrette, and rather than use kitchen equipment to do so, consider making it directly in the salad bowl.
My mother had a wooden salad bowl which she used especially for making her garlic vinaigrette. Over the years that bowl became infused with the scent of olive oil and garlic and the wood, so well oiled, turned from medium brown to a rich, deep brown.
You'll note in the slide show below, that I coarsely chopped a clove of garlic on a wooden cutting board first. I then added a pinch of salt and chopped the garlic some more, sliding the flat side of the knife back and forth across the garlic to create a paste, and then chopping some more.
Using the knife, I then scooped the garlic paste into my wooden salad bowl.
Garlic Dressed Salad Greens
1) Wash and drain (or run through a salad spinner) a selection of your favorite salad greens. In the pic at top, you'll see that I chose tender young spinach, red lettuce, red beet leaves, iceberg lettuce, and sweet snap-pea greens.
2) On a chopping board, chop a clove of garlic coarsely, as I describe above. Place the garlic paste in a wooden bowl and pour in 2-3 tablespoons of a good quality virgin olive oil, and a tablespoon of good quality balsamic vinegar.
3) With the back of a wooden spoon, work the garlic into the oil and vinegar.
4) Taste test. Given that a pinch or two of salt went over garlic to create the paste, additional salt is probably not necessary, but you might find it needs some ground black pepper, or a splash of lemon juice. You could add a drop of honey or a pinch of sugar which will tone down the tartness of the lemon and or vinegar.
5) Toss in your selection of greens and gently toss with wooden salad utensils.
6) Once tossed, I added some lavender-colored chive flowers and the white flowers from the sugar snap-pea greens.
Edible flowers are such pretty garnishes in a green salad plus they add flavor.
To Serve: Spoon salad onto white plates; the white showcases the color of the salad so beautifully. Make sure some of the edible flowers are visible on top since this adds interest and eye-appeal.