If you were of fan of the show Seinfeld, a “Big Salad” will bring back memories of Elaine and the diner scene, when she asks for a big salad, in a big bowl, with lots of things in it. For me, a big salad makes me think of my friends Benis and Hugh, who live in Boston. I stay with them every summer, and they always start every meal with a “big salad,” in a bowl that I would consider the size of a serving bowl.
I got in the habit of eating my salads out of a large bowl at their house, and there is something comforting about it… being able to toss your salad properly, see everything in it, and make a salad big enough for a meal. Lately, I start dinner with a big salad, and make two salads at once — one for dinner, and a smaller salad to take with me to work for lunch the next day. (Before Logan left for school I also made her lunch salad at the same time.)
I like to use a few different varieties of lettuce, including mix of baby greens and the freshest arugula I can find. I depend on local farmers markets to determine which varieties of lettuces I use, but if I have a hectic week and can’t get to a farmers market, then I pick up lettuce and arugula at the Food Conspiracy Co-op on 4th Avenue. The Co-op generally has lettuce from local growers.
I like a lot of color and texture in my salads, and they are never the same two days in a row. Ingredients are dictated by what’s in season. Some of my favorite seasonal items right now are watermelon radishes and sun chokes (Jerusalem artichokes). A few staples to keep on hand are hearts of Palm (I like the jarred variety from Costco, as they are not mushy and are packed in water) and Bhuja Snacks Original Mix for something crunchy on top.
I top my salads with two different balsamic vinegars, either fig balsamic and apple, or fig and grapefruit. No oil needed!