When constructing a great salad, Alice Waters wants it to be fresh. Really fresh.
I want salad that has just been picked, that has a feeling of aliveness to it, Waters said in a recent e-mail interview. I like a mix of colors and textures of lettuces and herbs bibb, young romaine, frisee, oak leaf, mint. The quality of the oil, vinegar, fresh garlic and salt is vital!
And Waters the woman behind the iconic Berkeley, Calif., restaurant Chez Panisse doesnt hesitate to eat salad whenever the mood strikes.
I eat salad with every meal, as a first course, or in a little pile along with the main dish, or before dessert, she said. And I eat it for lunch and breakfast!
For the APs 20 Salads of Summer series, Waters offered a simple but stunning Heirloom and Cherry Tomato Salad.
I am always thinking a number of questions when I set out to make this, she said. First, what month is it? Are the tomatoes dead ripe? Which varietals are the ripest? Is the garlic fresh? What sort of fruity olive oil do I have to use?
The recipe is delicious as written, but Waters also likes to dress it with freshly made aioli, a recipe for which follows the salad recipe.
I make my aioli in a mortar. I smash the garlic clove to a paste first, then take a little out to add back in later, if it needs it. Then I slice the tomatoes, season with salt, thin the aioli with a little water and drizzle it over, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.