Salads are a deceiving little species. What looks to be just a simple and thoughtless mixture of a few things here and there, is actually the contrary. And I’m not talking about the type that’s intended for calorie-pinchers. I learned long ago to never order a salad in a restaurant if I was looking for a low-cal dish (unless I was in the mood to eat a bowl of lettuce with a few specs of salt, and in that case I would buy my own head of lettuce). Dieting is for wimps anyway. I’m talking about the type of salad that is so memorable it leaves your taste buds tantalized just by the mere thought.
Nothing ruins your dining experience more than when you order something that sounds so incredibly divine, and then when the fork goes in your shoulders collapse and your heart sinks. Recently, I ordered a salad that read: “White balsamic marinated summer peaches, blue cheese crumbles, and toasted pecans tossed in a sweet white balsamic vinaigrette.” It sounds great! How could I go wrong with these few ingredients that are all equally pleasing to my palate? Well, I was wrong – it sucked. It was a flavorless pile of blah with the exception of a few juicy peaches here and there. The dressing was subpar, there was way too much lettuce and way too little crunch.
So, that’s the bad news. But the good news is that with the right mixture of flavors, textures, and proportions you can make your salad one to remember. There are a few that are close to my heart and here is one of them (and it happens to be low-cal — that was an accident!):
Smoked Salmon Salad with Pumpernickel Crutons and a Tangy Sour Cream-Dill Dressing
For the salad:
- One small package of smoked salmon
- Spring mix
- 1 cup of corn
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 half loaf of pumpernickel bread, cut into cubes and toasted
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 2 heaping tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 tsp sugar (plus a little more if needed)
- salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together and let set for several minutes for flavors to merge. Pour over salad and season all with salt and pepper.