21 April 2008

My Big Salad

I love peppery arugula in great olive oil and sea salt. Warm spinach and a balsamic vinaigrette also ranks high on my list. Even the bag of mixed greens pairs nicely with some apple, cheese and walnuts.

All of these are respectable salads. They're the popular ones you'll spot on menus at restaurants across the country, and, if the bagged mixes sold in grocery stores are any indication, they're served in lots of our homes as well.

Sometimes, however, we miss something in a salad green. We get tired of pushing dark, dainty greens across the plate. We want crunch. We want to stab something with a fork. We want a Big Salad.

Elaine from Seinfeld was to The Big Salad as George was to the double dip.

Yesterday I was craving a big salad. Chunky, barely green, iceberg lettuce tossed with tomatoes, carrots, radishes and cucumber. Big, chunky, crunchy bites of salad drizzled with a creamy dressing.

It was fabulous. And despite whatever lame, low-brow, buffet-diving association you give to the least-noble of lettuce, it's refreshing. And it might just remind you of the salad your mom made. It may be different for my kids, but my mom never put mache or microgreens on our dinner plates.

My Big Salad

1 Head iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
4 Carrots, peeled and shredded
6 Radishes, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 Small cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced on a bias
2 Medium tomatoes, sliced into eighths or several cherry tomatoes

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients, cover and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours for flavors to mingle. Toss salad ingredients and either cover with dressing and toss or serve portions and leave dressing on the side.

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