For thousands of years salads have been recognized as an important part of a person’s diet. Lest you think that it was mostly peasant fare, let me disabuse you of any such notions, gentle reader. According to hungrymonster.com
Salad dressings and sauces have a long and colorful history, dating back to ancient times. The Chinese have been using soy sauce for 5,000 years; the Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago; and the ever-popular Worcestershire was derived from a sauce used since the days of the Caesar. Indeed, early Romans preferred their grass and herb salads dressed with salt. Egyptians favored a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Oriental spices. Mayonnaise is said to have made its debut at a French Nobleman’s table over 200 years ago.
Salads were favorites in the great courts of European Monarchs – Royal salad chefs often combined as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including such exotic “greens” as rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums, and violets. England’s King Henry IV’s favorite salad was a tossed mixture of new potatoes (boiled and diced), sardines and herb dressing. Mary, Queen of Scots, preferred boiled celery root diced and tossed with lettuce, creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil and hard-cooked egg slices.
I always liked salads, not only are they delicious, most are also easy to make and the array of colors is almost always a feast for the eyes. In my search for a new salad I came up with this one, inspired by http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Scrumptious-Salad/Detail.aspx:
Insalata di penne, pomodori e formaggio
- 1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
- 2 small tomatoes, cubed
- 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and cubed
- 1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use Fittucci, an Argentinian Regianitto Parmesan cholov Yisroel cheese, distributed by Anderson Foods International. It brings back some of the flavors of my youth…)
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 2 hardboiled eggs
- 1 tablespoon of mustard
- Hardboil two eggs
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large casserole dish, toss the pasta with tomatoes, avocado, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and pesto.
- Place the salad in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, just until warm.
- When ready to serve, cut each hardboiled eggs in half, lay around serving dish, add a liitle bit of mustard to each of the 4 eggs and sprinkle each lightly with paprika.