Thursday, February 25, 2010

Winter Salads – No Tomatoes Needed

I like salads even in the winter when the temperature dips below the freezing point. But iceberg lettuce and cardboard tomatoes just don’t do it for me. Okay, maybe I’m something of a salad snob. I used to always put tomatoes on my salads. One day I complained to a friend about the cost and flavor of winter tomatoes. Her remark was “well, why do you use them?” I answered back “It’s a salad, so you must use tomatoes”. She immediately wanted to know where that rule came from.

Well, needless to say, her comment got me to thinking about my salad making philosophy. I finally decided she was right and a salad could be made without tomatoes. Making a salad without tomatoes has just unleashed my creativity. I now make a salad according to what is in season. During the winter I choose things that are readily available in the winter. The good thing about this is that foods normally taste better when eaten during their growing season. Varying ingredients gives me a little more variety.

Here are my basic rules for a winter salad. Start with a nice lettuce, like romaine or spring greens (I know this probably breaks the winter thing, but oh well). Check your local supermarket and be a little adventurous. I like to use apples, Cheddar cheese and maybe dried cranberries. And if I am in the mood, I may add a few toasted walnuts.

Winter Salad

Per Person
Use about 1 to 1½ cups lettuce
1 Tablespoon grated or crumbled cheese (Blue, Cheddar, Parmesan)
1/4 of a fresh fruit (apple, pear, orange, grapefruit, avocado)
1 Tablespoon chopped nuts
1 Tablespoon dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins)

Season the salad with a little salt and pepper and add your favorite salad dressing. I think you can get the point of my salad. Be as creative as you desire. You are only limited by your imagination.

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