In our recent travels to California, we met (for the second time) Michelle. Michelle is a native Cameroonian, who is, by the way French, as well. I had many conversations with Michelle during our few days in Oceanside, and I found her to be very interesting, in particular in the ways she cooked. What I really enjoyed about Michelle was the simplicity she brought to her food, and something that I took away was the green salad. This brought back memories of when I would make salads and the dressing for my wife; really basic, but packed with flavors.
On one particular evening, I made grilled chicken, as well as assisted Michelle in making what I thought would be a salad. You know, the salad that contains mixed vegetables and tossed with dressing. I was soon wrong, however open to what Michelle was doing. I was learning how she preferred, as well as many Cameroonians, their dinners. Instead of tossing the vegetables with the lettuce, she simply kept those as a separate dish, which contained only cucumbers and tomatoes, tossed lightly with olive oil and sea salt.
In a separate bowl she had tossed greens mixed with a vinaigrette. While sitting down and eating with Michelle, she ate her cucumber and tomato mix first, then chicken, and lastly the green salad. I followed suit, and must say I was generally pleased, especially with the freshness and punch of the flavors of balsamic vinegar, garlic, and olive oil at the end. It was as though the green salad cleaned and cleansed the pallet. Upon arrival back to Wisconsin, I made my version of green salad with vinaigrette.
- Green leaf lettuce, cleaned, dried, and torn into bite size pieces
- Romaine lettuce, cleaned, dried, and torn into bite size pieces
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 tbs dijon mustard
- 2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
In a large bowl, combine your garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, and olive oil. You want to whisk in the olive oil, enough to make a dressing. You will notice the olive oil blend into the ingredients. Now, add your greens to the top of the dressing. When you are ready, simply toss the lettuce gently and lightly coat each lettuce piece. The flavors are so great as you get the tartness from the vinegar and mustard and the punch of the garlic. It creates a circus in your mouth, not only that but it is healthy.