I have a formula for eight ingredients that always make an elegant salad – four for the salad and four for the dressing:
1 pound washed Greens
2 handfuls Dried Fruit
1 large handful Nuts
2 oz. Cheese
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
I have made this salad using arugula, dried apricots, pine nuts and feta cheese. I have made this salad using romaine lettuce, raisins, chopped almonds and cheddar cheese. The formula is simple and you can usually make it with what’s on hand at anyone’s house that you’re visiting. In fact, I came up with this formula last year when I was visiting my sister and she asked me to come up with something to do with a bag of arugula that only had one or two days left.
If you use a bag of pre-washed lettuce, there is no washing of vegetables involved in making this salad. The only chopping depends on the fruit, nuts and cheese you select. I don’t even measure for the ingredients, I eyeball 4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.
About salad dressing.
Salad dressing is so easy to make, it’s one of the products people buy that I cannot understand. The basic formula for salad dressing is: 4 parts oil to 1 part acid. From there you can add flavors: salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, finely chopped onions, sugar, etc. For oil, I generally use olive oil, but any oil will do. For acid, I usually use red wine vinegar, but balsamic, rice vinegar or lemon juice work fine. To make salad dressing, you just put all your ingredients into a jar, shake vigorously and pour over your salad.
One of my favorite trivia facts is that the word “salad” comes from the Latin word “sal,” for salt. That’s because the original salad dressing is salt. When I am at a function where the only options for salad dressing are store-bought ones with too many ingredients for my taste, I use salt only to dress my salad and feel very “classic” in my food taste.