Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crunchy, Creamy Big Salad

My husband, who likes neither steak nor potatoes, loves salad. He also hates watching sports and loves going dancing. Yes, we sort of live in opposite land over here and it's pretty great. What's not so great is that with the closure of Ti Couz, there's no place near our house where we can get a big heaping bowlful of salad. You can't go 20 feet without hitting a giant salad place in the Marina, but we live in the Mission, land of taquerias, incredible Italian restaurants, oh and this little spot.

Anyway, it's hardly like making a giant salad is a chore, particularly in these days of prewashed greens. I wanted a cool, creamy dressing to offset the crunchy bits in this salad. This picture was really speaking to me, but the mayonnaise and the sugar were making me cover my ears with my hands and yell "nyah, nyah, I can't heeear you." So I tweaked the dressing into something a little tangier. The secret, of course, to a yummy big salad is to toss the salad in a huge bowl until the dressing completely coats every last leaf of lettuce. To make a meal of this, you can serve it with some spicy grilled chicken on top. I just grill pieces of chicken thighs with a pinch of salt, about a tablespoon of hot sauce, and a couple shakes of ghost pepper sauce for some real heat.

Now that I'm on a big salad kick, I'm really looking for some great dressings. I love the one below and this lemon truffle vinaigrette, but if you've got a favorite dressing recipe, please comment!

Crunchy, Creamy Big Salad

Several generous handfuls of any salad greens you like (I used baby romaine and baby kale)
1 watermelon radish, peeled and cut into strips
1 black radish, peeled and cut into strips
Several stalks of celery, cut into small pieces
1 avocado, peeled and diced
(optional) Toasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 diced shallot
1 generous teaspoon dijon mustard
A splash of apple cider vinegar
A splash of citrus champagne vinegar
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of salt

Place ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until completely combined. Dress salad right before serving.

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