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February 09, 2007



I'm terribly ordinary. My favorite salad is a tossed - but with only iceberg lettuce and no other 'fancy' greens...I do enjoy the red cabbage and carrot they throw in the bagged mix from the supermarket. I like 1000 Islands dressing, pepper, and a smattering of shredded aged cheddar.

Ordinary, but I really do love it.


At Flytrap on Folsom there is a Limestone Lettuce Salad with Pecans and Roquefort salad which I almost think cannot be bettered.

"Imagine a whole, vibrant, soft buttery lettuce, dressed with a light and transparent lemon vinaigrette then sprinkled with a few toasted nuts and crumbles of blue-veined cheese. The leaves taste so fresh, I've wondered whether they actually grow the the plants in their kitchen"


Salad is my favorite 'single girl' dinner (you read A Hesser's book - you know what I mean). Mixed greens with slices of roasted beets and butternut squash, crumbles of feta cheese, and a shallot-y sherry vinegarette. Lots of black pepper too.


Okay, bi-zarre...for the last 3 days I've been making a salad with roasted beets, butternut squash, and feta. Cue Twilight Zone soundtrack...


I just freak out on salads!! Thanx for the recipe!!

Finnegans Wake

It's February in Pennsylvania. The streets and cars are filmed with salt, a world of the living dead, covered in lime. My lawn is hard as baked clay, dusty and crystalline. I dream...

I dream of a summer tomato. Not the tomatoes, trucked in for hundreds of miles, picked green and lacking all sexiness. Not even the greenhouse tomatoes, the tastefully polite ripened fruit I gladly pay extra for now.

I want to walk into my back yard and see a tomato that is so ripe it is almost ready to fall from the vine. I want to walk over to my garden, in my bare feet, smelling the grass, feeling the tilt of the sun as it angles westward, and I want to find tomatoes voluptuous with juice, bursting with fragrance as I hold them beneath my nose. I want to take a tomato leaf and rub it between my fingers and smell that, too, as I carry the tomatoes rolled up in the bottom of my T-shirt like some Italian peasant woman.

And here is what I want to do with my tomatoes. Nothing too fancy. Slice them into coarse wedges and scatter them over whatever greens I have. Slather on a not particularly restrained amount of bleu cheese dressing, freshly made, with mad chunks of the soft, moldy stuff cascading onto the plate, black pepper raining in a frantic whirr as I hurry to sit down with the finished plate. A slice of coarse homemade bread as a sop.

There will be time to add variants, later. All I want, right now, is that moment, that gorgeous moment, when I bite into that tomato and its simple accomplices.


FW -- wow, you are seriously jonesing for the summertime! I hope you and your tomato longing (which had me nearly salivating, by the way) make it to June.


Until last night, my answer was going to be:

Japan 7-11 (I realize this is beginning suspiciously). A thick bed of spicy, shredded daikon (Japanese radish) with just a few bits of red lettuce and the obligatory carrot/red cabbage that seems to permeate every "gourmet" salad mix. Diced cukemonger, thick shingles of cold chicken, sprinkled with bean sprouts and sesame seeds, a few cherry tomatoes (definitely not falling off the vine, but we are talking about 7-11 here...) and a half of a boiled egg with the yolk a deep, not-quite-cooked orange. Sesame oil dressing and a pair of disposable chopsticks. It's a weekly lunch tradition, and I love it.

However, last night I was rushing through Shinjuku Station to catch a bus out of Tokyo, and I stumbled upon salad heaven. I hurriedly chose one and grabbed the highway bus to Nagano just as the doors were closing. Settling into my seat, I opened the bag to find the following:

The darkest green lettuce I've ever seen. Almost meaty, almost seaweedy. Mixed with another variety - maybe romaine. Dices of roasted butternut squash (I can NOT believe somebody beat me to the squash thing!!!!!) and red peppers and something translucent that I thought was potato or daikon, but had a much firmer texture than either. I never did figure it out. Some slivers of raw daikon for crunch, crumbles of boiled egg yolk, a few shreds of a hard parmesan (very rare on salads here in Japanland) and topped with a generous ring of prawns, which had been coated in some kind of dressing that clung to only the prawns without drenching the veg. The mixture was maybe part mayonnaise, maybe part mustard, maybe they'd been ever-so-lightly coated with cornstarch and stir fried first? I don't know, and eating 7 of them didn't yield anything further than satisfied eye rolling. There was a dressing packet tucked beneath a plastic sheet at the bottom of the salad container, but I didn't bother with it.

Now, can an isolated salad experience bump my #1 out of its honored spot? Hard to tell, but I do know that I'll be remembering this one for quite a while. And since Shinjuku Station is a city unto itself, it's unlikely that the salad experience is to be repeated. The bag in which my salad was packaged read only, "Think, food."


Erika -- that is awesome! I love how passionate you are about your salads. And I think butternut squash in salad is the new black.

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