A Recipe From Chef Rachel

The Everlasting Salad 

I know the weather’s getting chillier and some of you may be swearing off salads in favor of more cooked vegetables. Still many of you will probably keep consuming salads throughout the winter, paired with warm soups, stews, roasts, or grilled meats. I didn’t want to miss the chance to shear a cool salad recipe and time-saving technique with you.

Healthy eating just got easier

Are you looking for a way to make it more convenient to get vegetables into your daily diet? Do you rush out the door in the morning with a pack lunch that’s missing vegetables? Do you come home at night and want to get dinner on the table more quickly? Great leftovers are the key to packing great lunches and assembling low maintenance dinners.

Cook ahead

If you’ve read my cookbook, The Garden of Eating, or attended my cooking classes you know I encourage people to Shop Ahead, Chop Ahead, and Cook Ahead. I’m a fan of the “cook once, eat twice,” or “cook once, eat thrice,” motto. I almost always cook with two or three meals or days in mind. I cook extra portions of fish, poultry, or meat, hard boil extra eggs. I roast, bake, grill, or blanch vegetables and make soups with multiple meals in mind. Those planned-overs made it easy for me to assemble breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in a dash.

But what about green salads? Have you ever made a salad, dressed it, then stashed the leftovers in a  covered bowl and found it wilted, watery, and unappealing the next day? They don’t always work, particularly if your dressing contains salt or vinegar.

Salad keeping secret

Would you like to make a green salad today and have it look and taste just as delicious tomorrow and the next day? This summer I discovered a way to make green salads that last for several days and still look and taste great. Actually, my dear friend, Don, hit on this idea with no prompting from me. He shared his secret with me and let me taste some of the salads he concocted using his newfound technique. I made many batches this summer, changing the mix-ins from week to week, depending on what I had in the house and what sounded like it would go well with whatever main and side dishes I had on hand.

Olives and raisins together?

If you’ve never added olives and raisins to the same salad try it. It’s really delicious. You can experiment with different dried fruits, different salad veggies, and combinations of ingredients. If you add grated carrots, try using the super tiny hole on a standard box grater for an entirely different effect (more tender bites of carrot that spread throughout the salad). You can add a sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds if you like.

Spice it up

If you want to spice up the salad at the table, you can peel, finely grate and squeeze fresh ginger juice or add a few drops of hot sauce to your portion of salad (not the whole salad) at the table.

So don’t be shy, give the recipe and variations a try and let me know what you think.

Tonight’s the night to get cooking with Chef Rachel!  Here is one of her recipes to get you started.

The Everlasting Salad 

Prep: 15 minutes/ Cooking: 0 /   Yield: 4 to 6 servings  
I don’t consider a bowl of lettuce or baby greens a salad. It’s a start, but it needs color and texture. My friend Don shared this cool tip with me for making a green salad that will keep well for three days in the fridge. It’s super convenient and easy to make.

The trick is to coat the veggies with olive or avocado oil and to avoid adding vinegar, lemon juice, or salt to the salad. You can salt and other things at the table if you like. All measurements are approximate. You can vary the type of lettuce (romaine’s the most durable) and the colorful mix-ins. I like to start with a 4 quart bowl. I figure about 2 cups of salad per person per meal/day.

Ingredients:

6 to 8 cups lettuce, washed well, spun dry, and cut or torn into bite-size pieces:

      romaine, red leaf, green leaf, oak leaf, Boston, buttercrunch, bib, lollo rosso lettuce, or some combination of 2 or more mild lettuces

1/2 small or medium red onion or 1 bunch scallions (green onions), sliced paper thin

1/2 cup red radish, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced or 3 stalks sliced celery, optional

1 or 2 medium carrot, peeled and grated very, very finely, optional

1/2 cup pitted black olives, thinly sliced into rounds or strips, optional

1/4 to 1/2 cup raisins, optional

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (essential!)

1.   Layer vegetables in a 3- or 4-quart bowl.  Toss gently with olive oil  to coat. Cover and refrigerate whatever you don’t plan to use right away.

2.   When ready to eat, you can lightly season your portion with sea salt, pepper, or lemon juice as you like or toss with feta.

3.   Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Use within about 3 days.

Variations:

*    Experiment with different vegetables and combinations.