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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

08.12.2002

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salad  
d
ays 
make a super salad

by Cindy 
Alvarez
1 2 3 4

Homer: "I'm trying to impress people here, Lisa. You don't win friends with salad."

Bart: [Musically.] "You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad!"

- The Simpsons, "Lisa the Vegetarian"

Most people think of salads as either a dieter's purgatorial meal or as little more than a delivery system for vast amounts of ranch dressing. That's probably because most of us see salad most often in its worst form -- as a tired heap of iceberg lettuce and a few dry shreds of carrot and red cabbage.

Banish the boring salad! Experiment with different greens, whip up some quick and exciting dressings, and you can create a variety of light and tasty meals perfect for these hot summer months. Iíll show you the basics of choosing greens, making simple dressings, and putting that knowledge together to make two of my favorite salads.

choosing your greens
Wander through the supermarket produce aisle or, better yet, your local farmerís market, and youíll soon see that thereís a huge variety of greens available out there. Here are a few of the most common, from mildest to strongest Ö

iceberg lettuce | Iceberg lettuce is one of the sturdiest greens, which is probably why it's so commonly used in restaurant salads. Farm-fresh iceberg lettuce has a light sweet flavor, but the heads you pick up at the grocery store are often tasteless. Iceberg lettuce adds a nice juicy crunch to sandwiches, tacos, and burgers, but it has no place in my salads.

bibb lettuce, butterhead lettuce, boston lettuce | Bibb lettuce is a mild, crisp green. The leaves are soft and "buttery" in texture, which means that you have to rinse them gently. It's probably also a good idea to tear the leaves rather than cutting them with a knife. Bibb lettuce is best with a milder dressing that doesn't overpower its delicate flavor.

red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce | Leaf lettuces have crinkly leaves with a lot of flavor and an almost feathery texture. The red leaf variety tends to be slightly more bitter and is well-suited to a sweet and acidic dressing. The green leaf variety is milder and a bit more versatile.

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