Thursday, May 17, 2012

That Salad. THAT SALAD

The recipe for THAT SALAD comes from here.  I'm not sure what it was the caught and held my interest - was it the picture of the pig conjuring up mixed memories or the writer's over-the-top description of being teased and pushed to your limits?  I don't know, but after a kaleidoscope of a day at work I found myself at Whole Foods putting the ingredients in my cart. 

The author at Food52 wrote about April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper dressing in glowing terms. It was the kind of description that makes you stop half-way through reading, look back , and question if you are still, in fact, talking about salad dressing. As opposed to Mother Theresa. Or penicillin. But I was intrigued by the idea of lemon segments in the dressing and her description of the acids working with the fats (which in April Bloomfield's case were fried pig ears).

I sent the link to Jennifer and she wrote back, "What on earth could you substitute for pig ears?" I wanted to find out.

Hello, Alisha.
Then there was the issue of the pig on the front of April Bloomfield's book. In high school biology we had to dissect fetal pigs. (Yes, I am, for real, going to inflict this on you in the same post as a recipe). The first step was to cut the mouth wide open. My lab partner Alisha made the incision and the mouth fell open like the pig had just walked in on a surprise party featuring a bacon cake. It was almost more that I could take. Then Alisha took the jaw in her gloved hand, moved it up and down, and said, "Hello, Elizabeth."

I almost passed out and had to spend the rest of the class in the teacher's office.

Understandably, I had mixed-feelings about April Bloomfield's pose. It bought back happy memories of biology with Alisha and Dr. N - the best biology teacher ever. But it also made me a little queasy.

At any rate, I was curious and found myself going back to the site and looking at the recipe several times yesterday.  That was between watching a customer throw up in my trash can, learning that the clown hired to wish my co-worker a Happy Mother's Day had been detained with jury duty, and maneuvering my car around the four men wearing kilts in the parking lot (did you follow that?).  It was strange day.

So I went to Whole Foods and loaded up on butter lettuce, shallots, lemons, capers, avocados and thick bacon.  At home, Matt grilled the bacon while I segmented lemons and minced shallots.  Let me tell you something: after a long day of dutiful clowns, sick customers, and faux Scots, segmenting lemons is therapeutic.  The fruit, like pale sunshine, slips right off the rind and the room immediately smells cleaner.  I got carried away, and did three lemons instead of the two called for in the recipe.

The dressing is bold and exciting and healthy tasting.  I served Matt this salad along side a plate of pasta with chicken sausage.  He did not touch the pasta until he'd cleared his salad plate.  And my question about the lemon wedges was answered when he paused in eating to ask, "What is the fruit?"  Before I washed the dishes, I texted Jennifer, "That salad.  THAT SALAD."  It was too good to not share.

You can put the dressing on anything you want, but I recommend butter lettuce and two toppings - at least one of which is fatty.  I've spent the morning daydreaming about the salad and combination possibilities such as poached egg and asparagus, salmon and avocado, poached egg and bacon...aaaaaah.

April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Salad Dressing
adapted hardly at all by me

2 medium lemons (I used 3 little ones)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons minced capers (I don't care for capers, but minced - oh yummy)
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fine sugar

Segment the lemons and collect in a bowl.  Squeeze any lemon juice into the bowl before discarding the membrane and rind.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix.  Stand and dip lettuce into the dressing while waiting the bacon to finish cooking.  Or pour it over anything you like. 

What would you combine to make the perfect fatty/acid combination salad?

Note: some commenters on Food52 said that they zested the lemons to "save time and lemon peel."  Frankly, I advise against omitting the fruit or adding zest.  It would change the integrity of the dressing, and it takes hardly any time to segment citrus.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, but I laughed at your fetal pig description. I think I would have a hard time taking a salad seriously that had a pig's ear with it.


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