Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Salad Days: Designing a Dinner Salad
"Salad days" is a term coined by William Shakespeare to refer to a time of youth, with its inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion everything good or bad which one associates with a young person. Yet, the ability to make a salad is something that actually requires experience and wisdom.
Guidelines in anything can be helpful, and it helps to think of salad ingredients as components or groupings. Starting with lettuce as a base, add five well-chosen ingredients and a salad dressing to make a restaurant-worthy salad meal. Some examples of the categories are given below. This idea really crosses cultures and universes, in that the components remain constant even as the actual ingredients change depending on your environment and availability.
So whether you are foraging through Muggle stores and fields (as Hermione did in "Deathly Hallows") or eating vegetation on roadsides and forests in the galaxy far, far, away, knowing how to select your edibles and to put together a salad means your food will always be interesting and tasty, and you'll stay in decent health!
Note that many ingredients occupy more than one category, but it doesn't mean you have to include them twice it's more interesting if you don't. Do try out a combination you find interesting, and make notes about what goes well with what, according to your palate. The more you practice and experiment, the more intuitive and tasty your salads will become!
First, choose a good lettuce base like iceberg, romaine, butter lettuce, baby spinach, mesclun mix, or field greens like arugula (rocket), watercress, dandelion, etc. You can choose just one, or a mix of them.
Next, add an ingredient from each of 5 categories: juicy; a protein; savory or sweet; fresh and crunchy; and buttery / warm / chewy. If you like salad dressing, you need to choose one which complements your choices, but a basic vinaigrette will never be wrong.
For convenience, see the table below, and start by choosing at least one ingredient in each of the categories. The trick is to create a harmonious blend of flavors, textures, tastes, and temperatures warming or cooking ingredients is a great way to alter an ingredient and create a more interesting mix.
Though you should keep in mind that some combinations may not work, in general the sky's the limit. It's mostly limited by availability, predilections, and your pocketbook. And what you have lurking in your fridge as leftovers, of course!
NOTE: You'll notice that many ingredients occupy two or more categories. A lot has to do with your perception of an ingredient or category, too!
As for the dressings, any commercially available bottled dressing is fine. You should not only try new dressings, but also try combining them. How? There are many ways, but here is a practical example if you find a french-style dressing too sweet and a bleu cheese too tart, try putting a bit of each on your next salad.
For a basic vinaigrette, remember the proverb which states:
it takes three men to make a salad: a miserly man for the vinegar, a generous man for the oil, and a wise man for the salt.
Most vinaigrettes are one-part acid to three-parts oil, but can vary according to your tastes. Mix them in a jar with a tight-fitting screw-lid and add a dollop of mustard and salt, to taste. Add a touch of sweetener to take the "rough edge" off the sharpness of the vinegar and mustard: try brown sugar or honey. If desired, add chopped fresh or dried herbs or spices, too.
Some inspirational suggestions for combos we've liked in the past:
* A tip that last salad can be more like a "fajita" if you pan-cook the peppers, onions, and celery and serve them warm over the steak and lettuces. Cooking or adding temperature contrast will make a salad seem more like a meal.
Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. Characters and situations are based on those which are the property of LucasFilms Ltd., Bantam Publishing, Random House, and their respective original owners and developers. The rest is this story's author's own fault. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.
This recipe is provided "as is," and neither Wookieehut nor any person associated with the website is responsible for any success or failure of the recipe, nor any implied effects. If there are questions, please email the author.