Kevin's salad (recipe)

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Kevin wooed and won me, at least in part, with this salad. I was amazed he could cook at all; when we were a couple, he was really the one who did the cooking for the entire 14 years. It has taken me 6 and a half years (he died in 2006) to make this salad again and I had forgotten just how delicious it is. I tried to remember the last time he made it… it was a long time ago. At least 2002 or 2003, although I made huge batches for office potlucks a few times.

Kevin's salad is perfect for winter, a little tart and quite sweet, refreshing and green. It looks modest despite its special flavor; you could add some red pepper curls for decoration if you are serving it at a party. Cause your company deserves this salad!

And it's perfect, just for you, on some cold, dark evening, next to some fatty warm comfort food (Mac and cheese? Pot roast?).  Happy New Year!

  • Lettuce, well washed, a soft leaf lettuce like red leaf or bibb, NOT Romaine or Iceberg, not mesclun mix or fancy or anything from a bag. REAL LETTUCE. 
  • Fresh cilantro, washed, stems removed, a handful or less
  • Fresh garlic, at least 5 cloves
  • Scallions, washed, de-slimed (remove outer layer), sliced into thin diagonal slices. Remove the darkest green half or two-thirds of the stalk.
  • Cucumber, preferably burpless, peeled and sliced into thin diagonal slices
  • Rice wine vinegar, regular (sweetened)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
Pretty much all the ingredient amounts should be adjusted to your taste, but go light on the dressing.
  1. Chop and crush the garlic and rub it all over the inside of a large prep bowl. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces. Add the cilantro and lettuce to your garlicky bowl in batches and toss gently.
  2. In a separate cup or bowl, mix the two vinegars and two oils to taste. Add some water if you feel it needs it.
  3. Gently toss the salad with your hands, adding dressing slowly, and salting and peppering lightly as you go. Be careful not to overhandle the salad and do use as little dressing as possible. This whole thing is tricky because you don't want to get dressing all over your pepper grinder. Have paper towels on hand and MAKE IT WORK.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl as you gently toss in the scallion and cucumber.
  5. Don't make this salad too far in advance... it will wilt, and anyway, you want your guests to say, "my,  you are really fussing over that salad!"


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