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Tags: asian salad, spinach salad
Categories : In Spring, Recipes, Uncategorized
All I want to eat these days is salad. Maybe it’s because I’m still making up for all those lost vegetables while I was nibbling peanut butter and apples on my camping trip. More likely it’s because it’s been a long winter of squash and potatoes and I’m excited about fresh greens.
When I come home from the farmers’ market, I like to toss baby greens with the barest of dressings: extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, freshly-ground black pepper, parmesan. But when those greens have run out and I need to supplement with organic spinach from the store, I like stronger flavors, like the ones in this Asian Spinach Salad from Bon Appetit.
The dressing is nothing revelatory, just olive oil, sugar, rice vinegar and soy sauce. It’s the topping — toasted ramen noodles, almonds and sesame seeds — that makes this dish so good. I wouldn’t buy ramen noodles for any other reason, given that they’re full of things I can’t pronounce and don’t believe in, but given the small amount of them you actually eat in this salad (and how delicious they are in it) I choose to include them. Just make sure to throw that flavoring packet straight in the trash.
If you make the recipe, I suggest using 4 or 5 tablespoons of olive oil instead of the recommended 8 (for a total of 3 or 4 in the dressing, plus extra for toasting the noodles). I also cut back the sugar from 3 tablespoons to 2. And I avoid the green onions altogether, since raw onions of any sort tend to overpower a dish. (Not to mention that health issue I wrote about earlier.) Lastly, the directions call for toasting the noodles, nuts and sesame seeds together, but the sesame seeds get done before the noodles so it’s better to add the seeds halfway through.
Click here for the recipe for Asian Spinach Salad.
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Tags: arugula, arugula salad, salad with toasted hazelnuts, spinach salad
Categories : In Spring, In Summer, Uncategorized
“So what’s the deal with arugula?”
An older gentleman came up to my booth at the Local Foods Festival and blurted out this question, as if it had been bottled up inside him for years and he’d been too embarrassed to ask. We talked about the green for a while — how it’s peppery and can be eaten by itself in salads or mixed with other greens to temper the flavor, and how it’s usually grown in a greenhouse early in the season before arriving from the fields in June. Then he paused and said, “Couldn’t you just eat spinach instead?”
I had to laugh. Sure you can eat spinach, and sometimes I do, especially if the only arugula is sealed up in plastic bags and you can’t take a bite to check the strength. (Once I made an arugula salad for company that was so strong, we had to toss it. And I don’t mean with dressing.) You can substitute spinach for arugula in nearly any recipe you find. But why would you, unless you have a hankering for sugary dressing and bacon bits? If you want a salad that’s an integral part of the meal, not just something served on the side, then take a chance on this more flavorful green.
I thought of this gentleman and his question when I bought a tangle of baby arugula at the farmers market. So far we’ve enjoyed it in salads (our favorite is Arugula with Hazelnuts and Cranberries) and wilted in a frittata. How good is the arugula? So good that on the one night I didn’t serve it with dinner, my husband looked so disappointed that we hastily put an arugula salad together. I can’t imagine missing spinach that much.