Not for everything, of course. Not for disease and war and famine and robocalls, but I do blame bagged salad for its lack of transparency.
Am I supposed to wash it? It says I don't have to. It says things like: Triple-washed! Ready to eat! But then it also says things like, "To refresh, rinse under cool water before serving."
This is a mixed message.
This is like saying, "Ready to eat. But cook first."
Or, "Pre-soaked. Soak before use."
I don't know what refresh means. Spritz it with cucumber water? Serve it a beer?
So, I just wash it. Again.
Occasionally I'll skip this step, but then I don't enjoy my salad as much. Then I feel guilty that I'm eating unrefreshed, tired, stressed out salad, and it doesn't taste as good to me. I think this is why I've basically stopped buying bagged greens. What's the point? Because I wash them again, there's no real time-savings. I also prefer to spend my money on other things, like twice as many non-bagged greens.
Do you ever buy greens at the farmers' market? It's fun to pick out baby everything there. Baby kale. Baby chard. Baby gem lettuces. Baby spinach. The farmers' market has lots of babies. I try not to pick up the human babies and just stick to the greens, but it isn't always easy.
Next time you make a salad, change up your normal greens routine. If you tend to grab romaine, get spicy arugula instead. Or try watercress. Or red leaf. Or butter lettuce. Or even cabbage. I know! Cabbage isn't even a lettuce! YOU CAN GO CRAZY!
Also, don't forget to make something quick and special to refresh your salad. It may have had a rough couple of days, and a handful of sweet, buttered nuts or crisp, homemade croutons would really show it how much you care.
A beer wouldn't hurt either.
Recipe for Salad in the Round with buttered agave walnuts
I had fun playing with the shapes and colors in this recipe. I was going to call it 1980s Bat Mitzvah Salad since every girl I knew who had a Bat Mitzvah in the 80s had a pink-and-green themed party, but I'm going with Salad in the Round instead. I like the way the radishes and cucumbers echo each other shapewise. Those of you celebrating Easter this weekend might like the spring colors as well.
Serves 2 as a lunch salad, 4 as a side
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 cup walnut halves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 generous handfuls (about 4 packed cups) mixed baby greens (I used mesclun, baby spinach, and baby arugula)
4 pretty radishes, sliced
1 Persian cucumber (a slender, narrow variety -- by all means, substitute any cucumber), sliced
Handful of mint leaves
For the vinaigrette: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling), 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon agave nectar, sea salt and black pepper
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner.
Warm the butter and 1 tablespoon agave in a small, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and foams, add the walnuts and salt. Shake the skillet to coat the nuts well. Let the liquid bubble and the nuts toast, tossing a few times, about 3 minutes. Scrape onto the lined baking sheet to cool.
Combine the greens, vegetables, and mint leaves in a salad bowl or on a large platter. Scatter with the walnuts. Shake the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar, or whisk until emulsified. Pour over the salad, toss, and serve. Refresh with a final drizzle of olive oil, in case it's thirsty.printable pdf