Photo: Ajna Jai / Contributor
Composed salads have become my new favorite dish, especially when cooking just for myself. Returning from a busy, buzzing shift at the restaurant, I’ll scrounge in my refrigerator to see what I can use.
Creating a base with hummus or any kind of smashed or whole lentils or beans, mashed avocado or yogurt, is usually the first step. Adding warm roasted carrots, seared mushrooms, peppers or squash can makes it feel more like a meal. Sliced cucumbers, apples, radishes and/or chopped nuts add crunch.
My favorite part about this salad is slowly laying it out on a plate, taking care to tuck in sprigs of herbs or hardy greens like endive or radicchio. If I am lucky enough to have some Blue Heron Farm feta, I’ll crumble it over the salad. Persimmons or pomegranate seeds can add a sweet note. The final flourish is a usually a sprinkle of salt and chile powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of good olive oil or oil tempered with spices like cumin or mustard seeds. The best part about a salad like this is that cleanup is simple, usually one plate.