Posts Tagged 'salad'

insalata, insalatón

roasted squash and pomegranate salad

Here’s the sort of salad I imagined we’d be eating as we rode our bikes through the hills of Tuscany: plates of field greens piled with herbs, fruit, roasted vegetables, cured meats, mozarella di bufala – everything local and in season. Peppery vinaigrettes. New olive oil. Verrry old balsamic.

The reality looked more like this: a glass bowl of green leaf lettuce, wedges of anemic tomato, and perhaps a few rounds of carrot or cucumber. Sometimes, an arugula salad, composed just of arugula. Accompanying the salad was not a vinaigrette – remember, vinaigrette is a french word – or, even ‘italian dressing’ (this may be an american invention), but the same four things that arrive with any contorno: olive oil, ordinary vinegar, salt, and pepper.

If you hail from the U.S., where the number of words a server uses to describe your entree seems directly proportional to the ‘fineness’ of the restaurant, the food of Tuscany requires a mental shift. Tuscan food is defined by a simplicity that verges on ascetic: antipasto is a plate of thinly shaved prosciutto, the primo piatto, a plate of hand-rolled pasta with olive oil, pecorino and black pepper, the secondo piatto, a perfectly grilled pork chop.

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the backyard harvest

by wickenden on flickr.com

I am not a good gardener, but the backyard does produce a small spring harvest, without our attention, year after year. Long before the wisteria was even thinking about making leaves, catmint was pressing up into plump mounds. A widening patch of lawn has turned green – no thanks to the blue grama, its blond eyelashes still curved shut. Shin-deep garlic chives and oregano have jumped their borders in order to bring the idea of ‘pizza’ to the act of mowing the lawn. You can hear the rosemary buzzing from across the yard, lying prone under its load of flowers and bees.

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