Food shouldn’t be complicated, unless you want it to be, a la red pepper foam or microgreens or any number of things from French cuisine. I very much enjoy patronizing the abundant restaurants of the Twin Cities that feature beautiful, delicious, complicated food; Heartland is the latest possible destination for gastronomic joy while my mother is town.
However, when I’m cooking at home, especially a midday meal for myself alone, I very much want simple yet tasty food. What often results is a surprising, unplanned combination of ingredients I have stashed away in the fridge and pantry that somehow resolve themselves into a sandwich, soup, or, as they did yesterday, a hearty salad.
I began by cubing a slightly overripe pear, which you cannot see under the other ingredients, but it’s there, I promise. This was topped with ripped up local hydroponic leaf lettuce from LaBore Farms, an indulgence of mine throughout this past winter winter that has proven a culinary ray of sunshine in the midst of heaps of snow. Scattered on top were a cubed, relatively mild local gouda, goji berries (which added a lovely chewiness and a punch of antioxidants that I’d highly recommend), a smattering of cilantro and chopped green onion, flax seeds, sliced almonds, freshly ground pepper, apple cider vinegar (another health powerhouse), olive oil, and the smallest sprinkle of salt.
I was a bit skeptical about the cilantro, but wanted to use it because I hate wasting anything and have over half a bunch left over from pad thai toppings this past weekend. It proved to be the perfect foil to the sweetness of the pear and nutty richness of the gouda, almonds, and flax seeds. All in all an incredibly tasty and satisfying salad. And to think, if I’m this excited about a late winter/early spring salad, I may just explode when asparagus is finally available 🙂