In this space we have an ongoing discussion about foods that are healthful to your mind and body. Our minds and bodies need a wide array of vitamins, minerals, trace elements energy and so forth. Therefore, the foods that we eat need to be equally varied and diverse. There is one meal, that I often speak of, that provides one of the widest varieties of foods and nutrition available: salads.
Your basic American salad starts with a base of greens. These greens can range from the familiar iceberg lettuce, to tasty and colorfully attractive spring greens, romaine and on and on. In addition to the base of greens we add a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and even nuts. I'm not going to repeat them here as I've covered them several times in the past. Additionally, we are encouraged to add 3 to 4 ounces of protein in the form of chicken, pork, beef or seafood.
But the ingredient that brings it all together is the salad dressing. A good salad dressing will have a balance of sweet tart flavors and add an attractive flavor profile to the selected ingredients. Generally, your salad dressing contains the most calories from fat of any other ingredient in your salad. Therefore it's a good idea to use the least amount of salad dressing possible and yet retain the great flavor we adore so much in our salads.
The way to go about this is to toss your greens with the salad dressing before you build the salad on your plate. Just add your greens to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of salad dressing per person over the greens. Toss with two spoons and then divide the greens up between your salad plates. In this fashion you optimize the distribution of the salad dressing throughout the greens. Yes, if your personal taste requires it more than 1 tablespoon per person can be used.
Here's a great recipe for a unique take on a summer salad dressing.
Fire Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette
Yield, a little more than 2 cups
6 plum tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
Rub a little extra virgin olive oil on the outside of the plum tomatoes and place on your hot barbecue grill. Grill them until they are well roasted on the outside and slightly charred. Remove to a plate and allow to cool. When cooled peel, remove the seeds and roughly chopped.
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients, including the chopped, fire roasted tomatoes, except the extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil a little at a time to properly emulsify. Adjust any flavors if you feel necessary.