Spring is Simplicity

Photobucket It is hard to fault a salad. Healthful, and often requiring little cooking, anyone can enjoy a simple salad, virtually anytime, anywhere. A great salad can convince even a skeptic to try something new. With the right combination of ingredients, something lifeless and dull can easily be transformed. Simple salads are also the key to my sanity. I can spend hours making chocolate ravioli with a mascarpone filling, and then realize that it will not suffice for dinner all on it's own, as much as I might will it into being... But luckily, I can enhance an entire meal by quite literally throwing things into a couple of bowls. I try to keep a couple different types of greens, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a variety of citrus fruit in the house at all times. Sometimes these are organic, sometimes not. Whatever seems best. I make sure to buy a few other fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, and then there are always possibilities. While having good quality fresh ingredients is key, it doesn't mean that I don't try to have a little fun with other kitchen staples too. There are always new olive oils and vinegars to try, as well as a variety of nuts, dried fruits, and different meats or eggs. Sometimes tuna is the perfect answer, and other times I turn to salami. Sometimes I toast the nuts, sometimes not. Eating vegetables is not supposed to be a punishment, so it is time to experiment and have a little fun. I love this salad, because it is salty and sweet. A Simple Elegant Salad (serves 2-4) 1 slice pancetta, cubed 1 head butter lettuce 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 2 limes honey best quality extra virgin olive oil fleur-de-sel to taste 1. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet. Remove from heat and sauté the pancetta until golden. Remove from heat and combine with the pine nuts. 2. Carefully wash and dry the butter lettuce. Tear into serving bowls. 3. Juice the limes into a glass measuring cup. Add equal parts honey and olive oil. Whisk thoroughly. 4. When the pine nuts and pancetta are cool, sprinkle over the lettuce. 5. Whisking frequently, spoon the dressing over the salad. Carefully toss the salad. 6. Add fleur-de-sel to taste.


Jillian said...

Sounds great, Gail! I can't wait to try!! (And where do I buy pancetta in small-town Iowa? Sigh.)

gail said...

Oddly enough, we get it at Sobey's (IGA) in a pinch. Maybe there is a little Italian deli? We tend to buy a bunch and keep it in the freezer. Use your favourite bacon in a pinch.

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