Bridget goes through a small allotment’s worth of salad leaves every day - with meals, before meals, instead of meals, crammed into bread rolls at the beach... This is the mother of all salads; it’s on every restaurant menu and in every home, in some shape or form. So often it is the best and most appropriate start to a meal, especially when there’s a lot of rich food on the way; and its preparation, I think, is the essence of good food. There are no impressive techniques to hide behind, no artful presentation. A generous helping of quality ingredients is the only way to please. The Bridget method involves roughly tearing up whatever leaves are available; the more the merrier (up to a point) but even one good fresh organic lettuce is fine, using the basic, blander varieties as the bulk and stronger leaves, like rocket, sorrel, mizuna, cresses and the like, left whole and used more sparingly. The same goes for herbs - only parsley and, to a lesser extent, basil can be flung in by the handful. While Bridget will occasionally go to the trouble of making a dressing, usually it’s a case of pouring on some fine olive oil, a good splash of balsamic vinegar and a hefty grinding of pepper. Always prepare a generous amount of leaves, but only dress as much as you think will be eaten immediately - it’s only a few seconds’ work to dress another batch.
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