What Goes With Greens

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

· ARUGULA Its peppery flavor is a natural balance for sweet fresh figs, pomegranate, raspberries, watermelons, strawberries, grilled apricots, tomatoes and citrus. It makes a colorful presentation when paired with radicchio or endive.

Dressings Mild and sweet, such as raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette.

· BUTTERHEAD LETTUCES, SUCH AS BOSTON OR BIBB Their pale, cream-colored, velvety leaves pair perfectly with darker, spicier greens such as arugula, watercress and radicchio.

Dressings Balsamic vinaigrette, fruity champagne vinaigrette or citrus-based vinaigrette.

· ENDIVE, FRISEE, RADICCHIO These pleasantly bitter members of the chicory family are supporting actors in salads. Cut cranberry-colored radicchio into thin strips. Add frisee for frilly texture and crunch. Slice endive leaves lengthwise into strips and add for striking presentation.

Dressings Reduced orange juice dressing; balsamic or red wine vinaigrette.

· LOOSE-LEAF LETTUCES These include green leaf, red leaf, ruby, lollo rossa and tango. They have great versatility when it comes to pairing with various accompaniments.

Dressings Versatility here, too: Greek, Italian and fresh-herb balsamic or red wine vinaigrette, Green Goddess.

· MACHE This tender, delicate green can be combined with radicchio, endive, bibb lettuce, beets and celery.

Dressings Champagne or white balsamic vinaigrette.

· MIXED BABY GREENS You can find the most interesting, flavorful mixtures at farmers markets. Top mesclun salads with toasted nuts or seeds and your favorite cheese.

Dressings All types of salad dressings, especially the sweeter, lighter ones such as balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.

· MICRO-GREENS Like sprouts, but less crunchy and more tender, micro-greens (baby arugula, mustard greens, cilantro, mizuna, fennel, kale, etc.) provide a textural and visually pleasant element to any number of dishes.

Dressings All types except heavier ones, such as blue cheese, that would overwhelm these tender greens.

· ROMAINE LETTUCE The sturdy leaves work well with many vegetables: radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados and red onions.

Dressings Bolder types such as blue cheese, Greek or Italian herb dressings, Green Goddess or Caesar.

· WATERCRESS Its slightly spicy, peppery leaves pair with milder lettuces such as bibb, Boston or endive. It's wonderful accompanied by fruits such as strawberries and raspberries, as well as cucumbers, yellow and red bell peppers, celery, radishes and tomatoes.

Dressings Light and fruity: lemon-anchovy, white balsamic, Asian or Vietnamese lime-chili vinaigrette.

· BABY SPINACH Mild and versatile, spinach is terrific with olives, anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, red onions, daikon radishes, carrots, citrus, pears, fennel, bacon, ham, eggs and cheeses.

Dressings Those made with lemon, mustard or red wine vinegar.

-- Catherine Walthers

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