I give a lot of thought to saldads. It seems to me that there is a lot to be learnt about all human life from salads, somehow, if I could only crack the code. Sociologists are letting a great potential go untapped.
It´s not just how you can tell so much about someone by the way they dress a salad. That´s not it, because sometimes all you can tell is that they can´t dress a salad, and what does that tell you? Not that much. I can´t dress in clothes that make any sense, but I hope all that says about me is that I can´t dress.
It´s more than that. A whole lot of society trends, all mixed up in a bowl. The whole health food, slimming issue, for example. I wish I had a euro for every time I´ve been told that we´ll have a light, healthy, diet conscious meal by someone who tears open a package of (wilted) leaves, then drenches them in oil and smothers them in cheese and nuts. Ha.
And how about Time? Salads are considered quick, but I find them quite time consuming. If you take the trouble to wash and thoroughly dry your lettuce and mache, that is. If you´re content to serve a waterlogged mush then, yes, it´s ready in less than no time.
Or how about Creativity, that new curse of our age? People are being told all the time that they have to be creative, and then, when they realise that they aren´t, they take their frustration out on some defenceless vegetables. Beetroot, sweetcorn and tuna in brine are flung right, left and centre, and some hapless guest is left in the middle to eat up the pieces.
I´m tellin´ya, there´s plenty to be learnt. But make your first lesson be caution. Pasta salad, for example, is a favourite of people with some vague notion of being dashing. They end up clearing their fridge on top of some fusilli, with mixed results. So here´s another hard-earned lesson: beware of anything with more than four ingredients, smile a lot, and start with a very small portion.
Then again, you can be so pleasantly surprised. Yesterday, at the opening lunch of Casa Decor , I had some of the best salads of my life. It may have been the expertise of the Sergi Arola catering guys, dazzling us with their Michelin stars. Then again, it may well be that I was starving, and tipsy from all the pink Moët.
I´m going to try this at home the minute I can, but for now, if anyone wants to get ahead, here are the ingredients, as far as I could make out.
Salad 1-orecchiette, mushrooms (cooked), smoked salmon, (bottled)artichoke hearts, mustardy dressing, tangy but not too strong.
Salad 2-spinach leaves, tomato wedges, artichoke hearts, smoked salmon, pine nuts, the same dressing.
In fact, you can see that they were almost the same salad, and indeed, I ended up mixing both and they still tasted great. They break all the rules of salad making as I understand them, but they worked a treat.
If you make them and are not impressed with the results, then have three or four glasses of champagne and try again.