A Simple Approach for Killer Salads

Forget about mixing vinaigrettes, blending dressings, etc. The essence of a green salad is best experienced with the simplest approach to dressing the greens (and other things).It’s amazingly easy and can be scaled from a quick salad for one to greens for a crowd. Instructions follow, along with two delicious recipes.

One of them is a summer recipe that relies on ingredients from local farmers markets, highlighted by some of the best strawberries anywhere, grown by Swanton (sold at Menlo Park farmers market).

§Use high-quality ingredients (ie, excellent extra virgin olive oil, super vinegar, etc. – you’ll taste the difference)

§Don’t mix up the dressing, simply put the ingredients directly into the salad and toss (isn’t that simple?!?)

§Remember the easy formula of oil to vinegar: more tart, concentrated vinegars (sherry vinegar, other wine vinegars and the like) should be one part vinegar to three (or four, if you like less-tart dressing) parts oil.Milder, sweeter vinegars (balsamic, fruit vinegars, etc.) only require two parts oil to one part vinegar. Adjust from there to suit your taste.


§Put your salad ingredients into your bowl.

§Finely dice fresh garlic (one small clove is good for very generous salad-for-two proportions) and add to greens.

§For a fairly full salad bowl (say, generous servings for four), sprinkle two tablespoons of vinegar onto the greens, then add the appropriate amount of oil (see above).

§Add salt and pepper to taste.

§Toss and eat!

This simple approach can accommodate a fast salad for one to a huge salad for a crowd.The results are light, tasty, healthful (you’ll end up with less dressing on your greens) and ever so easy.

Strawberry Salad with Almonds on Farmers Market Lettuces

This salad features a wide range of very complimentary flavors and textures. Delicate, soft lettuces. The meaty crunch of roasted almond slices. Bursting-with-flavor berries, and an optimal dressing that enhances without smothering.It’s pretty and VERY easy to make!

Serves 4


– washed, dried lettuces. Buy the wonderful pale-green galisse and little gem lettuces from Blue Heron Farm at the Palo Alto market, and swing by Coke Farm at the PA market for gorgeous, ruffled, dark purple lola rossa. Fill up a salad bowl with the lettuces.

– ½ cup of roasted sliced almonds (roast @ 350 until slightly golden and fragrant – about 12 minutes)

– a small basket of Swanton strawberries or and fresh strawberries you like from the farmers market. Wash, stem and slice the berries

– (optional) A few chunks of fresh goat cheese (such as Laurel Chenel), warmed slightly in microwave or some ricotta salata cut in medium cubes

– 1-2 small garlic cloves, diced

Add the berries and diced garlic to the greens.Pour on dressing ingredients (below) directly into bowl, toss. Add almonds and a little salt, tossing again.Can be served with chunks of cheese on top.


– 2 T of any sweetish vinegar such as balsamic (berry flavored is particularly good), berry vinegars or any that have a little sweetness and seem complimentary

– 4 T La Tourangelle roasted walnut oil (Draeger’s, Whole Foods and gourmet stores)

Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Serves 4


– 1 large ripe pear (Comice, d’Anjou, etc.), cored and cut into bite-sized pieces (pear can be cut up ahead and tossed in orange juice to keep it from turning brown; strain out the orange juice before adding to salad)

– salad greens (mache, spring greens or whatever you like) – enough to fill up a bowl

– ½ cup candied walnuts (Trader Joe’s has by far the best around), in medium pieces

– 4+ ounces crumbled or diced mild blue cheese Pt. Reyes blue is a good choice), room temperature

– (optional) pomegranate seeds

Dressing (see above)

– 2 T Cuisine Perel* d’Anjou pear vinegar (Draeger’s)

– 4 T La Tourangelle roasted walnut oil (Draeger’s and gourmet stores or online)

– diced clove of garlic

Put the pears into the greens, add garlic and dressing ingredients, salt & pepper and toss.Add other ingredients and toss again.Serve with crusty bread.

* Cuisine Perel makes the most incredible line of vinegars that are fabulous in salad. It’s worth a trip to Draeger’s to buy some!!!!

One response to “A Simple Approach for Killer Salads

  1. Yes, I just tried the simple approach to killer salads and it’s great. The dressing is so easy. I put the garlic, with thin red pepper slices, a small amount of parsley and salt. I added a touch of lemon juice and let this marinate for about 10 minutes then added baby spinach, olive oil and lemon juice just before serving.

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