My children always wrote "Salad" as mom's favorite food on those preschool quizzes (they also wrote "jazz" as my favorite music and "wine" as my favorite drink, and "be a mommy" as my favorite thing to do).
Salad is truly one of my favorites, and I'd be a hell of a lot better off if I ate it more exclusively. Not so hard to do this time of year. As I eagerly anticipate the Nora Ephron film "Julie and Julia", based on Julie Powell's blog that I used to read fairly faithfully, and Julia Child's life that I have admired from a distance, I find my thoughts moving towards slower, fresher food. It's easier to prepare and plan for such meals in the summer. Come fall, we'll be scrambling to boil pasta water, but for now, we're debating which salad we'll mix up using the heirloom tomatoes my husband picked up at a local market yesterday.
Nora, by the way, attempted Julia's salade nicoise on Good Morning America. YUM.
Our tomato debate is between the following from The Minimalist at the New York Times and his 101 recipes for summer salads:
2. Mix wedges of tomatoes and peaches, add slivers of red onion, a few red-pepper flakes and cilantro. Dress with olive oil and lime or lemon juice. Astonishing.
19. Mix cooked cannellini or other white beans, chopped cherry or grape tomatoes and arugula or baby spinach. Lightly toast sliced garlic in olive oil with rosemary and red pepper flakes; cool slightly, add lemon zest or juice or both, then pour over beans.
44. Make a crisp grilled cheese sandwich, with good bread and not too much good cheese. Let it cool, then cut into croutons. Put them on anything, but especially tomato and basil salad. This you will do forever.
45. Halve or quarter cooked artichoke hearts (the best are fresh and grilled, but you can use canned or frozen) and combine with cherry tomatoes, bits of feta or Parmesan or both, olive oil and lemon juice.
(If you click through to The Minimalist's article, do not miss the video on salad dressings. He advises adding a tablespoon of honey to a balsamic vinaigrette, and I love it!)
Also, a great salad blog post from Mighty Girl. Maggie Mason loves Oprah and while I don't, really, I liked the O magazine salad chart included in handy pdf form linked in this entry.