Now's the time of year when salad making can be the most fun, with so much fresh produce at hand. If you'd like to explore a range of permutations, take a spin through this interactive. The concentric rings of the wheel list a small portion of possible ingredients. With five turns and a choice of dressings, come up with a serendipitous melange for your next weeknight meal (spin before you go shopping).
Spin the spinner once for each step to choose an ingredient. (Makes 4 servings)
Make Your Own Vinaigrette
Fresh leafy greens and vegetables taste best when tossed with a homemade vinaigrette. Once you get the knack of balancing oil and vinegar (3 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon) or citrus (substitute 1 tablespoon juice for 1 tablespoon of the vinegar), it takes only a minute or two to prepare one.
Seek out fresh ingredients from the source: a farm share, one of the 4,400 farmers markets across the country or a local farm stand.
Plan the Presentation
Think contrast. Mix dark, spicy greens such as arugula and watercress with pale green lettuces such as bibb or Boston. Red radishes, white daikon radishes or sweet white jicama, cut into matchsticks, look beautiful with grapefruit or orange sections, strawberries or raspberries. Combine textures by including frisee (the frizzy member of the chicory family), endive sliced lengthwise or spiky mizuna. If using cheese, always add it last: Parmesan shaved with a vegetable peeler, mini feta cubes instead of crumbles. Herbs and edible flowers, when available, taste and look exquisite.
REPORTING: Bonnie S. Benwick and Catherine Walthers; GRAPHIC: Brenna Maloney and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post; WEB EDITOR: Erin Hartigan - washingtonpost.com; INTERACTIVE: Joe Hadley - washingtonpost.com