Whether store-bought or fresh out of the garden, we enjoy a green salad every night in my home. Most nights it’s simply greens—and a wide variety at that—dressed in olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt and fresh pepper. On occasion, I let fantasy reign and whip up an insalatone (translated “big ol’ salad”) that I call Insalata Fantasia. Imagination, resourcefulness and pure yumminess are the rules to follow. Here are some ideas for you!
Herb and Blossom Forager. Most fun when you get to gather what is right there in your garden, like fresh nasturtiums, scarlet runner bean blossoms, zucchini blossoms (or most any blossom, for that matter), fennel pollen, and whatever herb you have on hand. I like to mix my greens with some of the herbs and flowers and then sprinkle the rest on top for a salad that pops both edibly and visually. (See photo above.)
Insalata dell’Ortolano. This is your basic Gardener’s salad. Pull together whatever is in season from your garden or grocer, and invent a hardy and healthy salad. Fresh snap peas? Throw ’em in! Tender young fava beans? Toss ’em on top! Baby zucchini? Slice them finely and add to the mix.
Salad Niçoise. Chopped hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomato slices, green beans, anchovies, tuna—these are many of the tasty garnishes of this classic dish. We fell in love with this generous dish all along the French and Italian Riviera; you can find a plethora of recipes online.
Finely grated carrot and baked beet. A very simple way to kick up your basic greens. Grating them finely makes them soft and juicy and helps them marry well with choice olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which really highlights the sweetness of both beets and carrots.