Sunday, April 08, 2012


One dish I have quite recently gotten to enjoy is salad. It is almost never done well at restaurants, and it is hard to do well in Scandinavia. It is getting better, but you can still only get really good, sun-ripened vegetables for a short period in the early autumn. Otherwise you have to buy your vegetables and let them lie for a week or so.

Now, the beef-salad is one of my favourites, you can do it with any meat, but prime, well-hung beef is just unbeatable. It is best served on plates, but you can equally well mix it in your salad-bowl and just put it on the table.

First you need some bitter lettuce. Today, I used ruccola, but finely-sliced endives are another brilliant choice. If you don't like it bitter, you are wrong may like it better with some baby-spinach. You can also add fresh herbs, for example basil. A less bitter choice may be a good idea if you are having wine, especially good red wine, to drink. The bitterness has a tendency to overpower the tannins and make the wine taste like juice.

Then you need ripe tomatoes. Best are the ones you watch fall and then use directly, but you can just buy your tomatoes and leave them to ripen on your counter for a couple of days and it will be almost as good. Watch out for really unripe tomatoes, they go powdery and soft before they get sweet and juicy.

I often use some peppers, red in this case, to get that crunchy feeling. Lately I have also started using Spanish pepper or mild jalapeno to get some extra sting. Olives are important, and they have to be good quality olives. There are any number of types, the green ones I used today were Greek Halkidiki olives.

I added an Italian air-dried ham, just because I could. Not Parma, but quite good anyway. There should always be cheese in a salad. I almost always use Parmigiano Reggiano, but Grana Padano is also good or Västerbotten, the only Swedish cheese worth its name.

Once you have built your salad, then you cook the beef. Rare to blue. Slice it, and spread it over the top of the salad. Finish off with a large-bodied olive oil and a liberal amount of Aceto Balsamico di Modena. Observe that I have never spent too much on a Balsamic Vinegar. They just keep getting better the more you spend.

Serve while the beef is still warm.

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