Seattle Met recently featured a recipe for Bastille’s salade verte, I highly recommend you try it at home. When the French decided that hazelnuts should be a regular ingredient in salad dressing they were very much onto something.
Here are some more of my other favorite everyday, easy-to-come-by salads around town:
A salad need not be light. The drunken chicken salad at Baguette Box is a total calorie whore, but who really cares when you’re looking at a bed of mixed greens—spruced up with orange slices, almonds, croutons, and caramelized onions, and covered in fried balls of chicken that have been crisped to perfection? Nobody, that’s who cares.
On the lighter side are shredded-veggie Vietnamese salads (gỏi), although my favorite does come topped with beef. It’s the gỏi bò at Tamarind Tree: slices of tender beef in an herby fish sauce lie on a bed of shredded cabbage, carrots, herbs, pickled onion, and roasted peanuts.
Le Pichet is a great place to remember when you’re downtown on the weekend in search of a late lunch—the menu is available from 11:30 to 5:30. When I’m there, I must order the cafe’s version of the classic salade verte with hazelnut vinaigrette. It’s basically a ball of bibb lettuce drizzled in perfect vinaigrette with a smattering of toasted hazelnuts tossed on top for good measure. On Capitol Hill, an identical salad is to be had at Cafe Presse (same owners).
It’s been a few months, but I’m still freaking out about Nettletown. The big salad changes daily, and features whatever foraged goodies have made their way into Christina Choi’s kitchen. The first time I went for lunch, I ordered a sandwich and one of my dining companions went for the salad. I actually had to leave her there after an hour to go back to work, she was still digging her way through that big old bowl of greens, and happily.
The insalata mista at Tutta Bella gets big points from me for having white beans as well as white balsamic vinaigrette. White balsamic is less syrupy than its brown counterpart, and when it has its zippy way with a plate of raw veggies the results are mighty fine. It also has carrots, olives, sweet red onions, roasted peppers, and the option to add Gorgonzola cheese. By all means, add it!
So there you have some of my favorites. But come now, good readers. Surely you have some favorite salads of your own. Please, tell us about them.