I want to put more life into my salads this spring. What can you recommend?
For me there are only two types of salad: the salad you serve as a fresh palate-cleanser with or after a main course and, second, a composed salad served as a starter. (Okay, fair enough, there's a third - fruit salad - preferably served for breakfast and ideally with sheep's milk yoghurt and kitul treacle.)
My favourite post-main course salad (it's yet to let me down) is as follows: heart of cos (pale yellow, crisp, sweet leaf sliced off the vein), radicchio (either Treviso, Verona or Chioggia; torn by hand is the only way) and watercress (again, patiently plucked by hand, and the tips only - don't be tempted to work down the stem; the stalks won't be wasted: chooks adore them). Then leaves, naturally grown, ranging from sweet and crisp to bitter and red to vibrant and peppery. Wash these well, dry them even more carefully and toss them with a simple French dressing: Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, cabernet or chardonnay vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.
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