June 17, 2015

The Kid Can Eat Family Salad

I've been reading Ellyn Satter's Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family, and I paused at this line: "Many families have the same salad over and over again and don't seem to get tired of it."

I realized with an ambivalent jolt that we have been eating the same salad the entire spring. We have, for better or worse, a Family Salad. It's part Alice Waters (just-picked from the garden, hand-mixed lettuces), and part Pacific Beach Cafe (salty chunks of feta and whisked balsamic dressing). It's fairly ordinary, but it's ours, appearing in the middle of our table almost nightly, blithely poking up over the top of a simple metal mixing bowl.

Darwin eats his serving entirely with his hands, beginning with the cheese. He next moves on to the cucumber rounds, and lastly to the lettuce. If he encounters a red onion, he announces irritably, "Mama, I don't like onions, and you put onions in my salad."

I have some critiques of Satter's work, but we agree on how to respond to a hesitant young eater: "You don't have to eat them."

Likewise, you, reader, don't have to try our family salad. But consider yourself invited.

Quality is everything. Choose the freshest lettuces, an aged and syrupy vinegar, and full-fat cheese.


The Kid Can Eat Family Salad
scale to your family

for the salad:
red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and roughly chopped
romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and roughly chopped
red onions sliced into rings
English cucumber slices
whole milk feta cheese, crumbled loosely
freshly ground black pepper

for the vinaigrette:
extra virgin olive oil
good quality aged balsamic vinegar
sprinkle sea salt

Toss all salad ingredients except for feta and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle feta and pepper on top of the vegetables.

Pour three parts oil and one or two parts vinegar into a jar, add a sprinkle of sea salt, and whisk. Taste, and adjust ratios as you like.

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving.

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