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It is slightly bitter but also has a bite to it and it s important to tear it into small pieces. One of our great dinner-table pastimes at the cottage is guessing what s in the salad. My father in law usually puts twenty or more garden ingredients in. Here are some of the others he grows and tosses into salads usually just a handful of each. First a couple of perennial herbs grow outside the garden fence (because the deer don t seem to find these herbs that interesting. One is bee balm or bergamot; it grows leaves that taste like Earl Grey tea and gorgeous scarlet red flowers that can be torn into their individual florets the florets tossed into the salad for visual effect. A half dozen bergamot leaves in small pieces is all you d want in a large salad.
But maybe that s just American. In any case salad can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be as complex or a simple as you desire. This cucumber salad is simple. It s an easy fast way to add a serving or two of those 5-a-Day to your diet. I learned long ago that adding a simple salad to the beginning of your meal is ideal in getting those veggies worked in. It keeps the menu planning down to manageable and it can cost-conscious especially when using in season vegetables. It s all about KISS = Keep it Simple Silly! One vegetable one salad one course. By doing KISSing it you ll have a wider choice of first courses using one fresh vegetable: tomatoes grated carrots grated root celery have an avocado grapefruit beets mushrooms... You can always jazz up each salad with something different a fresh herb for example or a different nut oil or vinegar. I choose a vegetable for my first course salad then I let my inner cravings tell me which way to jazz it up.
Of course any lettuce plant will reach a point where its leaves taste very bitter and by mid August much of the lettuce for his salads comes from the local supermarket - but he still gets dozens of other ingredients from the garden. Here are some of those other greens in Grandpa Green s garden that find their way into his delicious salads. Radicchio provides a nice burgundy red color. Be careful to use sparingly in a salad as radicchio is naturally bitter and remove the thick white stem part of each leaf. Arugula is very easy to grow from seed and you can start by harvesting the extra seedlings for salad while thinning out the seedlings. Pick individual leaves as the plants grow and you can get two or three months worth of arugula flavor from each plant. I find arugula one of the most interesting flavors in a salad.