I’m using Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without a Book as my tutorial to learning how to cook. I like that she’s so practical and tries to teach general principles — and she doesn’t assume anything for those of us who know nothing.
You can’t get much more basic than salads, and I’ve been trying my hand at making a few. (It will come in handy next time I come to face the school salad bar.)
A couple of things that were helpful for me to figure out:
- It’s more interesting and still palatable to mix plain lettuce with bitter greens like endive or radicchio.
- Chop the lettuce into bite-sized pieces.
- Don’t feel the need to overburden your salad with a lot of ingredients. Besides the lettuce, only two or three additional ingredients are needed. I’ve actually really enjoyed these simpler salads quite a bit. (Later this week, I’m going to try just lettuce with my own vinaigrette).
- Use a LOT of extra-virgin olive oil and a little acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc.) The oil should be lightly coating the lettuce leaves. I should mention here that Dana, who makes fabulous salad dressings, tends to balk at this advice — she prefers much less oil and a lot more acid. But I personally liked the mouth feel of having salads this way.
- Add the oil and acid at the last minute.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
My personal favorite so far is a simple salad of romaine hearts, radicchio, blue cheese, and red onions with a simple dressing of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
recipe, salad, cooking