I've never liked lettuce.
Being a vegetarian for so many years, this fact has often startled people. Each time that I tell someone that I dislike lettuce, the reaction that I receive generally follows the same pattern. It begins with a baffled, "but how could you not like lettuce?" And is often followed by " So I guess you don't eat salad, then?"
Ah, how I love receiving that follow-up question. Each and every time, I'll respond with, "actually, I love salad." I then adore watching the person's facial transformation - twisting mouth and furrowing brow - as he or she becomes even more confused. If the person does not immediately conclude that I am simply delusional, I will begin my usual - salads-don't-need-lettuce rant.
Salads do not (always) need lettuce.
Now, you may have heard that you don't make friends with salad, but I think that that is only because most people are doing it all wrong. There are so many vegetable possibilities out there - all you need is two or three of them, and you've got yourself a salad. Lettuce-free.
My two favorite salad combinations are: 1. Cucumber, tomato and celery and 2. Spinach, dried cranberries and almonds. Lately, however, I've been on a more exotic/experimental gourmet salad kick. I started the week off with a fabulous concoction of pan-seared red pear slices, brie and chopped walnuts. And then, yesterday, I picked that - as I discovered today at lunch - is even tastier once it's been marinating for a while. Unlike lettuce salads that become soggy a day later - this salad maintained it's crunch beautifully.
Go ahead and make some friends.
Marinated Fennel & Cucumber Salad
an original recipe by Allison Sklar
what you'll need
for the dressing:
1/8 cup rice vinegar (any other light-tasting vinegar will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder (acts as an emulsifier)
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder (or both, if desired)
for the salad:
1/3 fennel bulb, chopped into thin slices
1 carrot, coarsely grated
2 lebanese cucumbers, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
handful toasted almond slices
how to do it
Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended. Toss vegetables to coat. Marinate for at least one hour - the longer, the better. If you desire lettuce, add some shredded iceberg just before serving.