Making salad edible

I really hate salad, they are generally incredibly depressing. Worst of all are those salads one finds in minor English restaurants and pubs: limp iceberg lettuce, half a tomato and a few slices of cucumber all served at fridge temperature with hardly any dressing. Dreadful stuff. Yet, over the past year I have served many salads that have been edible largely thanks to the power of decent salad dressing. My recipe for decent dressing is:

One part balsamic vinegar
Four parts good extra-virgin olive oil
Dijon or English mustard to taste

These can be beaten together with an electric whisk. This combination often goes quite thick when whisked together. Due to the hideous nature of general salad ingredients you need quite a lot of dressing to make them palatable. As I’ve suggested, bacon bits are a useful improver. Cheese is frequently useful too; I like thin slices of Parmesan.

I should point out that salad is actually incredibly unhealthy. When I was an epidemiologist I attended a lecture that included a mention of carcinogenic (cancer-causing) foods. Apparently, per unit serving lettuce is the most carcinogenic food there is. Cucumber is third most carcinogenic. When I tell people the risks of eating salad they immediately say it is due to the chemicals on supermarket vegetables. Not so, it is due to the Caffeic acid naturally present in lettuce and cucumber. Lettuce is really very carcinogenic and I really should continue to avoid eating it regularly. If you’d like to read more about naturally-occuring carcinogens then this holiday menu has some more information.