Something about all the baking I’ve been doing lately made me have a green attack today. I had a deep and abiding need to eat as much greenery as possible. A few days ago I saw an amazing salad on the edible mosaic blog. It was of the layered sort except it was all greens. It was lovely. So I went to Whole Foods today on a mission to buy every salad worthy green item in the produce section. After 5 minutes of scurrying, my basket contained an impressive array: romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, green cabbage, asparagus, frozen petite peas, broccoli, scallions, zucchini, endive and avocado.
Of course I then scampered over to the meat counter and got 6 big ‘ol slices of bacon because I felt for a moment like I was swerving off into a vegetarian place that I didn’t want to go to…and darn it, salads just rock with bacon on them. So I chopped, parboiled and processed my way to this green delight.
I tried not to use a packet of pre-fab powdered salad dressing. I tried to work up the energy to create a dressing masterpiece. I wanted a ranch type of dressing with avocados mixed in. And then I decided it was crazy to not use it just to be able to say I didn’t use it, when I like it. It is the Campbell’s Cream of Whatever dilemma. You would like to think you could do it better and fresher and more healthful. But sometimes the old standby is just what the doctor ordered and in this case it certainly was.
|Spring Green Salad|| |
- 1 cup frozen petite peas
- 1 crown of broccoli, florets separated and cut small
- 1 pound asparagus, top 5 inches or so
- 1 endive, sliced into ½ inch rounds
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- ¼ head of green cabbage, sliced thinly
- 1 zucchini, seeds removed, julienned
- 4 scallions, chopped thinly, whites and a little green
- ½ packet powdered Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 avocado, halved and seeded
- Rinse everything. Chop the asparagus and broccoli into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the cabbage, endive, and scallions. Tear up the lettuces. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil to parboil vegetables. Prepare a bowl of water and ice to stop them from cooking after they are parboiled.
- Chop and cook the bacon and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
- When the water is boiling, add the frozen peas to the water. After two minutes, use a strainer to remove the peas to the ice bath. Then add the broccoli and asparagus to the boiling water. Remove them to the ice bath after 90 seconds. You do not want to “cook” them so much as make them slightly not raw anymore…(yes, I know that makes no sense…but you know what I mean, don’t you?). After the boiled veggies are cool, drain the water and dry the veggies on a paper towel.
- For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients, except the avocados, in the bowl of your food processor. Process until they are smooth. Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Add the avocado to the dressing in the food processor and continue to process until the dressing is smooth again.
- To serve, combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss the salad until it is evenly coated with dressing. Start with less than the full amount of dressing and add as you go, until you reach the amount that you prefer.
Notes: If you are crazy about avocados, I think it could have handled two whole avocados.
Also, it is imperative that you let your greens dry, or blot them well with a paper towel. Get a big bowl and in two rounds layer in a bit of everything in whatever proportions you like. Don’t feel trapped by a recipe. I only used the top 4 inches or so of the asparagus, chopped in small pieces, but I used the whole pound. I used a large crown of broccoli, a whole endive, one whole romaine head, one whole red leaf lettuce head, one chunkily julienned zucchini minus the seed core, 6 slices of bacon, about 4 scallions, about a quarter to a third of a head of cabbage, and one avocado which is thrown into the dressing so don’t fret if it isn’t the perfect specimen.
This makes one massive bowl of green stuff.
Please try it and let me know if you think of any greens that I should add next time around.