Copyright 2002 Lynne Rossetto Kasper
This is the kind of salad I was raised on. Every night we had a big bowl of mixed greens—tart and mild, changing with what my mother fancied. Dressing was never made on the side and added to the salad. Instead, dressing the salad was a ritual always done at the table. First my mother sprinkled on salt and pepper. She tossed the greens with only enough olive oil to give them a little gleam. She sprinkled a little vinegar in and tossed again. Then she tasted a leaf, thought for a moment and added a little more salt, or oil, or vinegar. Another taste, and finally she deemed it done and served it up.
I've turned her salad into a main event, a supper salad, by adding what's on hand. Use this as a jumping off place for improvising your own bowl of greens.
1. Combine onion and ice water and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Wash and thoroughly dry greens. Tear into bite-size pieces. Turn into a big salad bowl.
3. Just before serving, drain onions and pat dry. Sprinkle the greens with salt, pepper, herbs and drained onions. Add whatever additional ingredients you'd like.
4. Don't dress the salad until you're ready to serve it. At the table, toss with enough oil to barely coat greens. Use about 2 tablespoons to start. Toss with vinegar to taste, starting with 2 tablespoons. Taste for balance as you, making sure vinegar is assertive, but not harsh. Once it's where you want it, serve it up.
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.