Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How to Compose Yourself (and Your Salad)!: A Composed Salad Recipe with Baby Arugula, Red Pear and Shallot

I used to laugh at that term—a composed salad—when I was a kid.  Personification would kick in, and all I could think of was a salad sitting up straight and tall, eyes downcast, hands in her lap, waiting with great grace for her turn to be eaten.

Salads are not my favorite thing to make.  I like to eat them, but I struggle with being too impatient to put one together at the end of meal prep; I just want to eat.

Thank God for those little boxes of organic lettuces and leaves.  I know they are more expensive, but 1) they are organic, 2) I don't have to rinse any damn leaves, and 3) I don't have to chop any damn leaves.  The only thing I'm left to do is cut up some tomato and cucumber, and I can call it a day.

And the-e-e-e-en there's my husband.  Salad creation is his specialty.  He reminds me of Jonathan in the old '80s movie, Splash, who gets fired for being too artistic with his pizza-making.  That's Chef Reiton.  His salads are gorgeous.  And he looks so relaxed making them.  I bang away at the cutting board to hurry up and get it done, and he stands and meditavely slices and minces and slivers and chops.  It makes me jealous.

So the other night I determined: I was going to make a killer salad.  Not the tossed green salads I always make.  No.  I was going to make a composed salad.  A little work of art on a salad plate.

I took three ingredients:

  • a red pear with the flower blossom end sliced off and discarded
  • baby arugula
  • a small shallot, peeled, with the root end trimmed

With my mandoline on the thinnest setting, I sliced the red pear crosswise into circles until I started to hit the seeds (about half the pear).  Next I sliced the shallot into circles.

Now came the composing: 
  1. I lay the pear slices in a ring on the salad plate, overlapping the edges a bit.
  2. I placed a nice little mound of baby arugula in the center of the ring.
  3. I sprinkled the little shaved rings of shallot on top of the arugula mound. 
That was it.  To dress it I sprinkled it with a little bit of olive oil, a little bit of balsamic vinegar, a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and a teensy bit of kosher salt.

The result? GOR-GEOUS!!!!

And it took, like, 2 minutes to make! AND it was delicious! 

a composed salad with red pear, arugula and shallots

I think I may have found my new favorite thing to create! Folks, get ready for some serious salad composure! 

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