As a teenager I didn’t care much for salads, but topped with Thousand Island dressing, oh yeah! That is, until I put on five pounds and the only thing that could explain the extra weight was the dressing on that “healthy salad”. Vinegar and oil are a much healthier option to mayonnaise-based dressings. In Spain I discovered the mixed salad and how wonderful salad can taste with the simple addition of onions, vinegar and olive oil. And as I mentioned in this recipe post, onion adds an incredibly delicious flavor to the oil and vinegar in a salad.
You’ll find mixed salad, or ensalada mixta, on nearly all restaurant menus in Spain. The basic ingredients are lettuce, tomato, and onion. Other ingredients range from white asparagus, raw bell peppers, roasted red bell peppers, artichokes, tuna fish, anchovies, sardines, hard-boiled eggs, and olives.
By the way, here’s an interesting anthropological note:..Americans eat salad before the main course, the French eat it after, and the Spanish eat it with the main course. Who’s right or who’s wrong doesn’t matter—just enjoy the salad!
The following recipe may give you an idea of a typical mixed salad. Come up with your own salad using some of the suggestions mentioned earlier in this post.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 to 4
½ head green lettuce, washed
1 tomato, cut into wedges
Asparagus, steamed (white or green)
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/4 red or green bell pepper, chopped
10-15 green olives
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar – white distilled, or sherry vinegar
1) Arrange the lettuce on a platter and decorate top with the remaining ingredients.
2) At the table, once your family or you guests have seen your beautiful creative salad arrangement, pour the olive oil and vinegar over the top, sprinkle with salt, and toss the salad.