When I was growing up, salad was always a part our meal. Every night without fail there was salad on the table. However, looking back now I realize that the salad remained the same; lettuce dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. My mom used Iceberg lettuce for a long time before she realized that it had no nutritional value whatsoever. Yet even after she started using romaine lettuce, the salad stayed exactly as before: Just the Lettuce, Ma'am.
I can't quite remember when salad became so important to me. I'm not sure if I started experimenting during my High School years or maybe when I became a vegetarian in college. The starting point isn't as important as where I am today. I love salads. I love making them. I love eating them. But most of all, I love sharing them.
Whenever I am planning a meal or dinner party, I consider salad to be one of the main dishes not the wallflower that stands on the sidelines hoping someone notices. Yet, I do keep in mind that it does need to complement the meal, not steal the show. The flavors should enhance and unify the rest of the food offerings. This Graped Up Bibb Salad did just that as one of the stars of a recent brunch. It was the bridge between the Citrus Salad: Martini Style to the rest of the meal. The two types of grapes played so well with the two types of Apiaceae vegetables; celery and fennel. The mildness of Bibb lettuce provided a wonderful, soft backdrop so the other ingredients could pop when blended with a lemon mustard dressing. It was a lovely mix between the sweet and savory.
1 lg or 2 small heads of Bibb/Boston lettuce
1/3 c thinly sliced scallions
1 c chopped celery
1 c red grapes, halved
1 c green grapes, halved
1/2 c sliced fennel
(reserve the fronds to mix into the dressing)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 t crushed garlic
1/2 c olive oil
1 T chopped fennel fronds
salt & pepper to taste
Whisk together until well blended and pour over salad right before serving.
Like a crisp morning day, this salad is a fresh start to any meal and perfect for a brunch.
I'm dedicating this post to my fabulous husband on this day his birthday. He is a huge fan of my salads, and I'm so grateful to have in my life, supporting me and my many endeavors. Together, life is grand. Here's to creating, testing and enjoying salads for decades to come.