Sunday, April 11, 2010

the first of many four-ingredient salads from Kate's Kitchen

If you like specific measurements, today's episode is not for you. Today I'm going to tell you about a salad I threw together because I happened to have the ingredients in the house at the time. It went over so well, I've made it part of my repertoire.

Baby Spinach I strongly recommend buying triple-washed, because cleaning a fresh bunch or two of spinach is a pain in the kiester. If you don't own a salad spinner, it's even more of a pain to dry it all. Improperly washed spinach can be gritty and grainy and have you wondering how the hell Popeye ever got the stuff down. I like baby spinach because it's more tender. I usually buy it in a tub in the organic foods section of the store.

An obligatory nutritional note: according to Scientific American, spinach is more nutritious when it is cooked. I sometimes serve meals on a bed of baby spinach--it can add to presentation and it's a nice way to sneak veggies into a meal.

small red onion--adjust according to taste, but I suggest starting out with an onion about the size of a baseball. If you don't like sports metaphors, think of a small apple. Adjust to taste.

sun-dried tomatoes some grocery stores have olive bars that will include sun-dried tomatoes. I usually buy them jarred in the same aisle with the tomato sauce and pasta. They're typically packed in oil and are more moist. The oil also adds a nice flavor to the salad. Cut them into strips before throwing them in the salad, you want to spread out the sweetness of the tomato.

feta cheese--I buy it already crumbled, six or eight ounces. The fat-free works okay with salads,don't try to cook with it, it melts funny. Best place to buy feta cheese I've ever seen was a Greek deli in Nashville's farmer's market. If you have one near you, can get up early enough and find parking, go for it!

Assemble your salad: when I'm making a salad that is best tossed, I usually add a little bit of each ingredient, toss, lather, rinse, repeat. 

Exactly how much of what to use in this is completely up to you. In my experience, eyeballing for color balance is as helpful as tasting for flavor balance.

When your ingredients are assembled, toss in just a little olive oil--you've got oil on the tomatoes--and some basalmic vinegar.  

This will go with a variety of meats, and should complement other salads at a pot-luck or barbeque as we roll into summer season. It makes a nice change from the typical spinach and hard-cooked egg with hot bacon dressing, too!

Questions? Comments? Let's hear it!

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