This is the kind of salad Lynne was raised with. Every night it was a big bowl of mixed greens — tart and mild, changing with what her 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. Her mother sprinkled salt and pepper on the greens, tossed them with only enough olive oil to give them a little gleam, sprinkled on a little vinegar and tossed again. Then she tasted, considered, added a little more salt, or oil, or vinegar and finally, when she deemed it done, she served it up.
We turn that salad into a main event by adding a little protein.
1. Combine onion and ice water and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Wash and thoroughly dry the greens; tear into bite-size pieces and turn into a big salad bowl.
3. Just before serving, drain the 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 the greens with enough oil to barely coat them, using about 2 tablespoons to start; then toss with vinegar to taste, starting with 2 tablespoons. Taste for balance as you go, making sure vinegar is assertive, but not harsh. Once the salad is where you want it, serve it up.
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From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.