Hydroponically grown lettuces, such as those from Endless Summer Harvest in Purcellville, make beautiful salads, especially in winter, when locally grown varieties are in short supply.
Use a good-size salad bowl so you can coat each leaf evenly with dressing without damaging any of them. If extra-virgin olive oil is the only kind of olive oil you have, replace half of it with canola or vegetable oil; at full strength, extra-virgin oil can overwhelm a salad.
Feel free to add cucumbers, peppers, radishes or whatever other vegetable you like. If they are in season, try fresh tomatoes instead of dried, if you prefer. (Or use both.) Kumato tomatoes are delicious year-round. The salad easily transforms into an antipasto when topped with roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, sliced salumi and cheeses, etc.
If you have micro greens, such as Endless Summer Harvest's micro sunflower greens or tatsoi, they make a spectacular and flavorful garnish.
Make Ahead: The dressing and tomatoes can macerate in the bottom of the salad bowl for 1 hour. But it's best to assemble and serve the salad when you are ready to eat it.
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 teaspoons for garnish
- 1/4 medium red onion, cut into very thin slices (julienne; 1/4 cup)
- 4 (about 1/3 cup) sun-dried tomatoes cut in half (either oil-packed or reconstituted in hot water for 10 minutes; drained either way)
- 3 ounces mixed greens, such as Endless Summer Harvest's Loudoun lettuce or European blend, or individual heads of baby romaine, butter oak or frisee
- Micro greens, for garnish (optional; see headnote)
Combine the oregano, oil, vinegars, salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese, red onions and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the lettuce and, using tongs (or your hand), gently turn the leaves to coat them all evenly.
Divide the leaves between salad plates, then mound equal amounts of the tomato and red onion at the center of each portion. Garnish with the remaining 2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese and the micro greens, if using.
From Sourced columnist David Hagedorn.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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