Romaine hearts, a whisk clanked through olive oil and lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, a crush of black pepper. When I made a salad, 4 times out of 5 that's what I did. It wasn't sexy, but who can be sexy all the time?
Eventually, I busted out of the salad box, and romaine gave way to frillier greens: baby arugula, wee gem lettuces, peppery watercress, and wacky frisée, which always looks, to me at least, like someone plugged it into an electrical socket with wet hair.
The ongoing process of writing a produce cookbook has inspired me to fully embrace my salad soul, and now I want to inspire you, too -- with someone else's cookbook. Robin Asbell, whom I'm proud to call a colleague and friend, recently came out with New Vegetarian (Chronicle, 2009), and her salad chapter offers unique combinations of ingredients and flavors. Tamarind vinaigrette paired with chiles, daikon, fried shallots and mango; Tuscan bean and kale salad served with gorgonzola bruschetta; apple-pear salad dressed with walnut oil, lemon, and vanilla; and the blood orange and mache salad pictured above, among others.
Want the book?
I've got one copy to give away. Your challenge is simple: tell me, by the end of the weekend, what kind of salad gets you excited. And trust me, if salad doesn't get you excited, I'll see right through your charade. Don't snow me, people.
Winner to be announced next week.