Monday, September 8, 2008

Salads, again

THERE ARE SALADS and salads. Today at a friend's house we had a delicious one of potatoes, tomato, olives, and hard-cooked egg, served nestled on romaine leaves and dressed very subtly with a very light vinaigrette. There was also baba ganoush, green beans in pomegranate-molasses vinaigrette (Lebanese Balsamico?), and red peppers à la grèque, along with ciabatta he'd baked, and delicious Interlaken green seedless grapes from his backyard grapevine. A wonderful lunch.

And then for dinner here in Portland, at Giovanna's, another salad, I think you could say, but a warm one: orecchiette with red and yellow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, olives, and minced basil, dressed with a little olive oil, garnished at the table with migas, slightly toasted bread crumbs, and grated Parmesan cheese.

What makes a salad? Mac's dictionary says it's "a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing…"; but of course it can be warm as well as cold, there are plenty of warm or wilted salads. For me it's the composed nature of the dish, the tossed-together quality, and of course the dressing, that makes a dish a salad. And the salt: "from Old French salade, from Provençal salada, based on Latin sal ‘salt’."

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