Saturday, 1 June 2013

Salad days are here again - A response to Tim Hayward

'...the Crisp Green Salad is an anti-food, a black hole of joylessness. It is a nothing – it doesn’t fill, it doesn’t delight, it doesn’t nourish.' - Begone, salad days

I am not a vegan, a vegetarian, or have a perversion for green leaves and radish. I generally sway towards meat - steaks, platters, ribs, sausages - and ignore the lines which end in (v). However, Tim Hayward's attack on crisp green salad had me riled. His belief that a salad sucks the joy out of diner reveals one thing, and one thing alone: Tim Hayward has never had a good salad.

It's true that salads are frequently neglected. Bagged lettuce, or one picked days ago, is prepared in the early hours of a shift and left to sit in the fridge, protected from decomposition by a single layer of cling-film. These salads will be tasteless. A side order not given a second thought - clearly.
A good salad is a fresh salad. Leaves picked and served the same day. Large leaves, kept whole or torn to palm-sized pieces. Fresh cucumber and fresh tomatoes and then thinly sliced and scattered on top. Homegrown, the sweetness of the tomatoes balances perfectly with the peppery cucumber. To tip the balance in the favour of pepper a few rocket leaves can be added. Again, homegrown rocket packs a punch not found in any supermarket equivalent. The smallest pinch of salt, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and perhaps a tiny sprinkling of parmesan too.

Now that is a salad you can take to the bank. Not a main, but a part of the meal raised above the status of a side to something integral to the experience.

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