One of the many delightful things about summer is that it's just plain easy to eat well at this time of year. Sitting down to a plateful of salad for dinner feels more virtuous than satisfying when the cold winds blow, but when it's warm and sunny and you've spent all day outside, a crisp, cool plate of salad is just the thing.
I've heard a couple ideas about the perfect salad. One is to make sure that every bite has something good in it; load it up with as much delicious stuff as you can fit in your bowl. That's a good idea for sure; the rap on salads is that they are boring, and if you have all kinds of delicious things in it it will be much less so. I like to toss in little bits of things I have in the fridge...a tiny portion of meat, a sliver of cheese, veggies left over from dinner that need new life, etc.
Mark Bittman has a formula for a delicious fancy salad, and I have to say he's not wrong: Fruit, cheese and nuts to accompany your greens. Imagine apples, cheddar and almonds with a cider vinaigrette, for example. The classic "Michigan salad" on just about every restaurant menu where I live is dried cherries, blue cheese (or goat cheese) and pecans.
Finally, we've introduced our kids to the hearty, classic Cobb salad. The mnemonic to remember is EAT COBB: Eggs, avocado, tomatoes, chicken, onion, bacon, and blue cheese. Of course, if you hate any of those or just have, say, a hunk of beef or salmon you need to use up, change it up...Cobb salads are versatile and kids like combining things in different ways.
Are you a salad eater? What's your favorite thing to add in?