We eat a lot of salads in the summer. They are always easy to prepare and perhaps because they are served at room temperature seem lighter and more palatable with the heat of the day. And, in case you don't already know from reading my posts, I am married to a woman with limited tolerance for non Guyanese food which always relies on rice or roti as the starch of choice. (See my Guyanese food post for more clarity) So this one is not necessarily typical of my salads but is a good choice because it highlights the diversity of what can be included in the choices available. Because I am Italian, I eat salads by mixing everything on my fork. Neeta, on the other hand eats in descending order of what she likes. This annoys me, but apart from admonishing her occasionally to "eat everything together" I can't seem to prevent her from making separate piles of her favorites for later consumption. This squirrel like behavior aside, she enjoys salads even if it means having to eat greens.
Here are the key players in my composition. On the top left is a potato salad I put together using sweet potatoes. After boiling them for 20 minutes (Start them in cold water), I peeled them , cut them into cubes and immediately added salt and vinegar. Then I let them sit and absorb the flavor of the vinegar while I made other preparations. After they cooled, I tasted them to see if they had enough salt and vinegar, added a little shallots and tamari roasted almonds (for a hit of added protein) and drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil. In the foreground, you see some cut up slices of cheese and a bowl of tomatoes, olives, avocado and shallots which are marinating together in olive oil. In the top right of the photo is a bowl of cubed albacore tuna which I bought earlier in the week. I gently poached it in salted water with a bay leaf and lemon peel till it was medium rare and marinated it in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and parsley for a few days. You will notice the common ingredient in this salad is the olive oil. It is worth mentioning here that without a premium oil, this meal is less than spectacular. I have the wonderful advantage of living in Foodie Heaven here in decadent old New York where we have so many sources for quality ingredients. The oil I used for this dish I found in Fairway Supermarket on the Westside which has a tasting station for its different varieties of oil. My current favorite is a Sicilian bottled "Novello" or new oil from Biancolilla olives which Fairway sells under their own label. I love it. It has the aroma of new mowed hay with a delicate fruity taste. It's the real star of this dish.