We can’t live on salad alone—how insulting to tacos and pasta—but in June, July, and August we all eat at least a salad a day, more as the humidity gets chewy. For Bec and Laurel that salad comes, about twice a week, from their favorite u-pick shops (they’ll each reveal their local joints in upcoming posts).
When I lived in San Francisco, I did the same, hitting Blue Barn more than I should admit. But here in Nashville u-pick salad fixings usually tend more to cheeses and dried fruits than Blue-Barn-esque offerings like toasted fennel, watermelon radishes, and fresh herbs. In case you Southern athletes are wondering I have not seen pimento cheese on a salad list, but I bet it’s out there.
After a few months of whining about the void (can you hear me now Sweetgreen?), I finally found the kind of salad joint I longed for, in my kitchen.
My approach is to streamline the shopping, washing, trimming, and cooking. I choose ingredients for the week and prep a lot of each. Then my husband and I each toss our own salads for dinner.
Whether you make your own salad bar or are lucky enough to have a good u-pick nearby, use our weekly salads as a guide. If you’re going it at home, start with four or five handfuls of greens in an 8- to 10-inch serving bowl per person.
After that, the proportions are personal: I like a riot of chopped herbs, several tablespoons, while my husband prefers a light dusting. He likes a double scoop of sweet potatoes, and I sometimes try to steal all the snap peas.
With that in mind, we won’t include amounts for these salad posts, just ingredient lists. Use them to make your shopping list. Use them to nail the perfect order, without holding up the line, at those stressful midtown lunch places. Use them to avoid buying a salad that’s totally unhealthy or just weird (like I imagine that hypothetical pimento cheese salad would be). --Melissa
The Salad: Spring Greens with Herbs, Seeds, and Spiced Chicken, with Cornbread and Salted Butter
greens (really any kind—I used a spring mix from the farmer’s market but chopped Romaine would be nice, too)
chopped parsley, tarragon, oregano, and basil
halved grape or cherry tomatoes
chopped snap peas
roasted sunflower seeds
raw hemp seeds
a big hunk of cornbread and some salted butter
The Why: The weather here in Nashville has been too humid for hot food but too gloomy for the wisps of food I crave on bright and sunny summer days.