What better way to end a trip — come home to a garden with lettuce spilling out of its borders, waiting to be picked. I picked some of the arugula and some frisee and made a giant salad, which was definitely a relief after airport food. The standard dressing I use is the epitome of simple, but there is a technique to it, so file this under ‘basic methods’.
Step 1: Salt
Salt the greens lightly, and toss it around with your fingers. You could use tongs but there is no implement quite as blunt, rubbery, strong, and with as fine control as your fingers.
Step 2: Oil.
Pour some good, green-tinged xtra virgin olive oil around on the greens. How much? Well, just like distance can be measured in light-years, I can tell you the amount of oil in seconds — for a big bowl of greens, squirt oil for around ten seconds. Once again, toss with your fingers. What this step does is coat the greens with the oil, and thereby, the grains of salt are trapped under the sheen of oil, and the seasoning has been captured; and will not easily slip off the greens into a super-seasoned pool in the bottom of the bowl.
Step 3: Vinegar.
I used balsamic. Sprinkle about five seconds (half of the oil) of balsamic vinegar on the greens and toss with your fingers. Considering that the oil is already coating the leaves, the vinegar will bead up on them (oil and vinegar don’t mix), and create little bursts of flavor.
Step 4: Accessorize.
Scoop the greens into bowls and add your choice of toppings. We used one avocado, cubed; and cherry tomatoes, halved. Please do halve them; the juicy insides absorb flavors better than the plastic peel on the outside; and when you’ve got good olive oil and good balsamic, that is a good thing. Place them on the bed of greens.
Hat tip: Nick Stellino, the TV chef.