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I chose to include this recipe even though it is so ridiculously simple. The reason why is because Italian cooking is supposed to be simple and not complicated, and this salad is a perfect example.
I grew up where a salad was always a vegetable salad – meaning it had cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and anything else you had. But in Italy, the best salad I had was simply lettuce and olive oil. That’s it.
Today, this salad is pretty much how I make all my salads – greens with olive oil.
What type of salad greens to use?
Well, that’s a great question and I don’t have a perfect answer. I personally like a spring mix salad, but if all I have are romaine hearts then that’s what I use.
As silly as this may sound, one thing I do when making the salad is grab some plastic kitchen cooking gloves and then work the olive oil through the lettuce and it breaks the lettuce down. My husband is the one that started doing this and I was like, “oh I like it like this!”
You can make any adjustments to this recipe that you want. For example you can add kalamata olives, chopped apples, or my favorite – sprinkle some Italian cheese like Romano.
Make sure to always use extra virgin olive oil as it holds a heck of a lot more flavor than standard pure olive oil.
- 10 oz mixed salad greens
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove
Rinse the salad mix very well. Let dry. I use paper towels or salad spinner to squeeze dry the salad.
Slice the garlic clove in half or smash it and rub the sides of the salad bowl with it thoroughly.
(I toss the remaining clove in the boiling water for the pasta so my husband can eat it later. Garlic is very healthy for you.
Pour olive oil over the salad mix. I just pour it a few times around the bowl about 3 tablespoons. This is completely up to you. My husband likes less, I like more.
Add a little bit of the red wine vinegar. This is optional and you do not have to use it.
Add a dash of kosher salt .
Mix it all very well and make sure to get the salad to rub the sides which will pick up a slight garlic flavor.
Serve and eat it all. Do not use as left overs.
Tip #1: If concerned about little bugs in the lettuce, especially if you grow your own, soak the salad in salted water then rinse well. The salt will kill the bugs.
Tip #2: I often put the olive oil and vinegar on the table so people can add extra if they want it to suit their tastes. In some cases, I don't even use the vinegar.
Tip #3: I noticed in Europe many people eat their salads "after" the main dish. I tend to do this myself because the salad helps my stomach digest the food better.