Warning: If Iris comes up to you and asks to be taken to a salad bar, don’t be fooled. It’s a trick.
Last Monday there was an unassuming item on the dinner calendar: shelling bean salad. I had a bunch of stuff from the farmers market that needed to be eaten, including salad greens and shelling beans. So Iris shelled the beans, I made a caramelized shallot vinaigrette with sherry vinegar, and we had a salad bar. I had the water boiling for the beans and needed to get them in quick if they were going to be ready for dinner, so I was urging Iris to shell faster. I felt like a sweatshop proprietor. If they had been fava beans I would have felt really guilty.
Here’s what Laurie and I had in our salads:
- mix of tender greens
- shelling beans
- shallot vinaigrette
Here’s what Iris had in her salad:
Now Iris keeps asking me when we can have salad bar again, because she loves croutons. She made me promise not to put pepper on them next time, however.
How I make croutons: take a loaf of rustic bread (I use Grand Central Como), cut off the crust, and cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Toss the cubes with olive oil, salt, and (if family members allow) pepper. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until browned. Nibble on the discarded crusts while the croutons bake.