A simple green salad, served before cold roasted chicken, alongside a heaping bowl of pasta with crushed tomatoes and a hint of peppery basil or just after a big, juicy steak - there's nothing better. Fresh lettuces sit tall on their plate, Bibb and Romaine green and slick, radicchio in brightest purple, lacy little frisee. If you're not careful, you can drown them and their delicate flavors in too much dressing. Here is the recipe for perfect salad every time.
lettuce leaves, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
vinegar (white wine, red wine or balsamic) or lemon juice
salt and fresh ground pepper
1. Wash your hands.
2. Select your lettuces. I shy away from bittery leaves like radicchio and escarole in a simple lettuce salad, but many people love them. Throw whatever mix you like in a big bowl.
3. Pour some olive oil in your clean hands and rub it around ever so slightly. Then use your hands to gently coat the lettuce leaves with the oil. passing them back and forth from hand to hand. I start with a tablespoon and increase it if I need to - I don't like too much oil in my salad and this is the best way to control how much you use.
4. Dribble vinegar or fresh lemon juice over lettuce. You'll probably want 1/3 - 1/2 of the amount of oil you used.
5. Sprinkle salt (I prefer a coarse grind like sea salt) and fresh ground pepper and toss with your hands.
Perfect every time. I confess that I usually eat my lettuces with my hands. In fact, I eat a lot of vegetables with my hands. It's so silly not to, whyever did we move away from it? It's a lovely feeling to have slick leaves between your fingers.