Wanna hear a quick story of how I learned to love Salad?
Ok, real quick.
When my brothers and I were kids, my mom was keen on staying fit (still is – but that Zumba story is for another time), so when we were hungry, she’d offer to make us salad. And like every idiot kid, we gave her that ‘what, are you kidding me?!’ look.
“Well alright”, she’d go. “I’m going to make one for myself…are you guys sure you don’t want any?” And again we’d go “Nooooooooo!” and whine for a PB&J sandwich or some other shit instead.
So she’d make our lunch, seat us at the kitchen table and then make her salad. We’d start eating, legs swinging contentedly beneath us and she’d join us moments later.
It was always right about this time that my chewing would slow and I would narrow my eyes at her salad with keen interest. My legs would slow down, the wild look in my eyes would focus for a bit and then start darting back and forth between her salad and my sandwich.
“What’s in that salad, mom?”
“Hmmm? Oh just some shredded chicken, the garlic carrots from last night, feta cheese, some green beans…” *munch munch, flip magazine page*
I’d be staring openly, brazenly at this point.
“There’s chicken in that?” I’d ask, shifting slowly on the bench, closer to her.
I didn’t know whether to be interested or suspicious.
“Well…what’s it taste like? Is it good?” Sandwich now hanging loosely in my hand.
“Oh yes!” *munch munch, page flip*
“Well can…can I try some?” I’d implore, eyes wide, staring greedily at her salad.
She’d arch an eyebrow and look down at me. “You wanna try some?”
“I mean, yes please”
The corners of her lips would curl ever so slightly before she’d motion to the cupboards and tell me to grab a fork and a small plate. It always tasted divine.
This scene played out every time she made salad.
Every. Single. Time.
Even today. Although now when she goes; “Wanna make a sa…”
Smart cookie, my mom.
Her punishments were equally creative. She’d make us do 25 pushups. The legit ones too. Not the half-assed ones where your arms push up and down but everything from your hips down is still on the floor. Naaaah.
We had to count out loud too. And if we missed a count or did the half-assed pushup, she’d make us start all over, from the top. Sometimes she’d make us sit, back against the wall, knees at a right-angle, for 5 mins. That was the one that would make us cry …
We didn’t learn to stay out of trouble as fast as we learned to eat salad so it was straight up bootcamp in my house, haha.
In keeping with my it’s-hot-as-shit-out-and-I-don’t-wanna-eat-anything-heavy mojo, I found myself making a salad for dinner, throwing all sorts of shit in it and for a moment there, it reminded me of mom’s salads. So I’m calling this Salád Jeanne, although the final presentation pictures are kinda shitty because we had a storm rolling in and I had about 4 mins of natural light to pose the dish and take the shots.
This is a really straightforward salad but you don’t have to stop at my list of ingredients. Go big. Be all you can be.
It’s one of those things where you think you’ll have it as a side to something else (which was my initial thought too) but you’ll work through that with no trouble and will be coming back for more. Emphasis on the salad. I guarantee it.
And besides the memories, the BEST part of making this? There’s only like 5 things to wash!
Salád Jeanne and Black Bass
What I Used
2 handfuls fresh Arugula. 2 Radishes. 1 handful Haricots Verts. 1 cup Asparagus (tips only). 2 Scallions (white part only). 1 ear Corn (shucked). 1 small Cucumber. 1/2 an Apple. 1/2 an Avocado. 8 mini Heirloom Tomatoes (or 12 Cherry Tomatoes). 1 small handful Pea Shoots. 2 fillets Black Seabass. 2-3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar. Olive Oil. Salt. Pepper.
What I Did
When it comes to salads, I always get my slicing and dicing out of the way first:
Thinly slice the radishes, avocado, apple, cucumber and scallions (white part only)
Roughly chop the cilantro and arugula.
Half the grape tomatoes. If you use heirloom tomatoes, cut them into quarters.
Cut the ends off of the haricot verts and preserve only the tips of the asparagus.
Bring 2 pots of salted water to a boil.
Add the haricots verts and asparagus tips to one pot.
Add the ear of corn to the other.
Blanch the vegetables by cooking them in the boiling water until tender but crisp. 3-4 mins for the haricots verts and asparagus. 4-5 mins for the corn.
Using a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from pot and plunge into a bowl of ice water and ice cubes to stop the cooking.
When the corn is cool to handle, cut the kernals off.
Next, in a large bowl, add all the fruit and vegetables and season with salt and pepper.
Then drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over the mixture and toss again to coat.
Place in fridge to cool while you make the bass.
Season each fillet with salt and pepper, place in pan and cook skin-side down for about 4 mins, or until most of the fillet is white with only a little pink showing on top.
Flip over and cook the other side for about 2 mins.
That’s largely it folks.
As I mentioned earlier, you can serve it as just a salad or with the bass on top of it.