Despite indications I may sometimes give to the contrary (e.g. with jovial references to “token salad” when helping myself to a minimal bit of vegetable matter as part of a well-piled plate of food at a buffet), I actually quite enjoy eating salads. However, it is rare for them to make up the bulk of a meal for me.
Yesterday was an exception.
I had been to the supermarket and picked up a couple of little gem lettuces and some salad tomatoes as part of a special offer on fruit and veg, along with a fresh pineapple.
My plan all along was to make them into salad as part of my dinner. However, due to a sequence of events including an impromptu beach trip with some friends in the evening, I didn’t actually get round to eating much more than a few handfuls of Bombay Mix until I got home shortly before 11pm. By this time I was fairly hungry and wanted something quick to prepare and not too heavy to eat before I went to bed.
A few minutes later, I had two delicious salads prepared which I then proceded to eat with a few slices of fresh bread.
I remember reading, several years ago, advice from a cookery guru (I think it was Nigella Lawson, though I’m not entirely sure) that you shouldn’t mix red and green in a salad. Although I’ve enjoyed enough mixed salads to be firmly convinced that this advice can be safely ignored, I decided on this occasion to make two separate salads – one featuring the lettuce and the other the tomatoes.
My first salad was a version of my default salad, namely some torn-up lettuce leaves and various other ingredients tossed around in a DIY vinaigrette dressing. On this occasion, the other ingredients were a couple of chopped spring onions, a few capers and a handful of bisected green olives. The vinaigrette was a simple mixture of a fairly generous quantity of olive oil and a somewhat smaller amount of balsamic vinegar, seasoned with a bit of salt, pepper and rosemary and whipped up a bit with a hand whisk.
The other salad was a bit more experimental, although based fairly closely on my recollection of salads I’ve been served by other people. I sliced up a couple of tomatoes and put them in a bowl, then sprinkled them with black pepper (freshly-milled, of course – Delia would be proud of me), dried basil, crumbled-up goat’s cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar, garnishing the ensemble with a single basil leaf.
In total, it was probably no more than five minutes’ work to prepare both salads (and even less to eat them). There was enough to save a bit for this evening too and, while they weren’t in quite such good condition after a day in the fridge, they were still very tasty.
In case you were wondering about the meaning of the term Salad Days (when not being misappropriated for blog titles), it is usually used to refer back to the bygone days of one’s youth. Apparently (and I was not aware of this, despite having read the play at least once), the term comes from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, in which the eponymous heroine speaks of:
…My salad days,
When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…