Salads are so much more inventive than when I was growing up. Our standard dinner salad was iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, cucumber and carrot. Sound familiar?
Now salads juxtapose different flavors with unusual and delicious results. One of the first salads where I was taken aback at the ingredients and more than pleasantly surprised at the result is the Spinach Strawberry Salad below.
Chopped salads are great as well because the flavors are all there in every bite. I’ve also discovered that it’s a great way to introduce a new flavor into the family palate because the new taste does not come in one overwhelming chunk, but blended with other flavors. The local farmers markets probably have some ingredient you haven’t tried before, so go a little wild this spring and try something new.
For my family it was daikon radish. The black bean and corn salad comes from a friend who threw it together for a backyard party. She based it on a salad she had at another friend’s home, and mine is based on hers. Since it involves only a little chopping, it goes together quickly. The salad recipe makes up a pretty big batch, but keeps nicely in the refrigerator for several days.
While we are still able to dine al fresco, why not try a salad party? Make two or three different salads, ice tea and cookies. Have some friends over and savor the spring weather, lighter fare and the lull some of us have before all the end-of-school whirl hits.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lori Rossi began collecting recipes at age 14, but her real love affair with cooking started after picking up a December 1989 Bon Appetit magazine. Today, she shares her love of the kitchen with her two kids, Nathan, 11, and Nicole, 8. If you’d like to get in touch with Lori with a question or idea, e-mail her at email@example.com.
Spring Strawberry Salad
1 bag fresh spinach
1 bag butter lettuce mix
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced in rings
Toss spinach, butter lettuce mix, strawberries and onion. Just before serving, toss with poppy seed dressing.
Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
In blender on low, mix together sugar, paprika and cider vinegar. Add oil in a steady stream while continuing to blend. Mix in poppy seeds. Store in refrigerator.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen sweet white corn, thawed
1 large Vidalia onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon garlic salt
Toss together the black beans and corn. Chop the onion and cilantro and toss into the salad with the garlic salt. Juice the limes and pour over the salad. Toss before serving