Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Salad Days

As this burst of spring weather has exploded upon us, I can't help but crave lighter, greener fare.  This is partly due to the fact that beach season is just around the corner, and after a hedonistic and gustatory winter of cooking, dining, and blogging, I may risk being harpooned come June.  But it's also due to the fact that as the warmer weather arrives, we naturally steer away from the heavy stews and braises of winter in favor of salads and grills.

We know we're not quite there in terms of veggies and fruits yet.  Butch at Iovine's, our go-to guy for all things produce, tells us that we've got some weeks to go before fresh and local become the norm on our tables.

But that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy our favorite salads, either from our own kitchens or at some of our regular restaurant haunts.  If you're making your own, we can definitely recommend Butch's winter salad and our signature Caesar.  I'm also a huge fan of baby arugula tossed in a basic balsamic vinaigrette--a wonderful refreshing side at dinner or for lunch as a healthy bed for a scoop of tuna salad, a few slices of grilled chicken, or a slab of frittata.

If you prefer to let someone else cook it, have you tried Zento's tuna sashimi salad?  Or Las Bugambilla's Ensalada Mexicana?

I adore Amada's Express Lunch--can never decided between the ensalada verde, with its gorgeous combo of greens, beans, avocado and shaved Manchego,

or the more indulgent Serrano Ham and fig salad with Cabrales (Spanish bleu cheese.)

Other strong salad combos to make at home:
  • Romaine, black beans, red onions, corn, and shredded sharp cheddar with a lime and cumin dressing.
  • Spinach, apples, crumbled bleu cheese, sweet onions and salted cashews with a simple vinaigrette.
  • Romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, red onions and feta cheese in oil and vinegar.

As the warmer weather arrives, what is your favorite salad?

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