Raise your hand if you love salad for supper!
And when we’re awash in homegrown and local lettuce at this time of year it’s time to serve nothing but a really big salad–especially when it gets really hot.
It takes some forethought mixed with resourcefulness to make a salad hearty enough that the menfolk aren’t hunting around the kitchen for a little something extra before bedtime.
Usually, it’s not a preplanned affair, something I shop specifically to make, but an opportunity to use bits of this and that from other nights’ cooking.
Meat, Potatoes and Dressing
When meat is a must, I favor something grilled, like steak, lamb or salmon. Duck would be lovely. Last week I used cold smoked pork because I had a lot from a party to use up. Unusual, yes, and it was excellent with tangy mizuna, scallions, sliced carrots and sweet salad turnips.
I love cold (leftover) roasted potatoes, cooked squash or hard-boiled eggs for substance. Naturally, these hearty ingredients are accompanied by a bounty of fresh lettuce–one variety or a blend, throwing in some mustard greens for spark–and chopped fresh veggies.
To top it all off, a creamy dressing of some sort, such as blue cheese, poppy seed or ginger-miso makes the whole bowl more rich and filling. I just make sure to use a light hand while pouring and tossing.
These homemade garlic croutons are a treat. Make them from leftover breads, since stale bread makes the best croutons.
And they help to assure that everyone gets their fill of salad for dinner.
This is the best method I've found for making great, garlicky croutons without the risk of any bitter burnt bits. It involves making a garlic oil, tossing bread cubes with the oil and baking until crisp. This makes a large batch so that you can have homemade croutons on hand.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 8 cups day-old bread, cut or torn into rough 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic. When the garlic simmers, turn off the heat and let the garlic infuse the oil for 5 minutes. Fish out the garlic with a fork and discard.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the bread pieces in a large bowl with enough of the oil to moisten them. Season with the salt.
Arrange the croutons on a sheet pan in a single layer. Toast in the oven, stirring 2-3 times, until nicely browned, about 18 minutes.
Store any leftover croutons in resealable bags in the freezer for up to 1 month.