Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Salad Days

The heat of summer means I want less hot, filling meals and more stuff that is easy to toss together and doesn't heat up the kitchen. So we eat more salads.

Salad dressing, until recently, was one of the few highly processed foods we were still buying. It was cheap and it was easy. Yeah, I've always known how to make my own dressings, but why get another container dirty? Blah de blah blah. Excuses, excuses.

My husband, who no one will accuse of being a health food fanatic, usually skips the salad when I serve it for dinner. "It's boring." he says. "I am a carnivore. I'm not eating leaves." (Which is ridiculous, because he loves braised greens and sauteed spinach.) But he was right, that bowl of plain chopped romaine lettuce with tomatoes and cucumbers every night IS boring. So I've been playing around with my own salad dressings, with delicious results.

Last night, I made lyonnaise dressing, following the advice of the excellent Mark Bittman. Salad Lyonnaise is usually served over frisee, and topped with a poached egg. I used a mix of arugala and romaine and topped it with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. I didn't feel like dealing with poached eggs.

The dressing was creamy and tangy, rich with bacon fat. The very lean bacon from BPH Farms leaves less grease than the other kind, so we're only talking about a tablespoon of fat. I used red wine vinegar, because I didn't have sherry and regular yellow mustard. My condiments need an upgrade. All in all, a pretty easy meal that didn't come out of a bottle.

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