Despite the fact that just about every food-focused website and magazine is showcasing salads right now, January is a strange time of year to eat a salad. It’s cold outside, so you’re likely wanting to consume something warm. In addition, many classic salad ingredients — tender lettuce, juicy tomatoes — aren’t going to be at their best for several more months.
But New Year’s resolutions are certainly not going anywhere, and neither are January salads. Instead of ignoring the trend, try this method for enlivening grocery store staples, as well as for making hearty a meal that would otherwise not be particularly satisfying: plan your salad around the elements of crunch, acidity, sweetness and some kind of herb (and lots of it).
First up: the acidity and sweetness, which you can get from ruby red grapefruits, sliced so that they’re free of pith and peel and ready to add zingy sweetness and a pop of color to the salad. Extract the segments from the membranes over a bowl so that you collect all of their juices, which you’ll whisk with olive oil to make a simple, yet effective, dressing.
Next, into the bowl go pieces of the freshest green leaf lettuce you can find, plus a peeled and chopped cucumber for crunch. Three cups of diced rotisserie chicken meat (or leftovers, if you’ve got ‘em) will bring plenty of substance to the salad, and an entire bunch of mint leaves — no need to chop — add herbaceous brightness.
This dish is mostly just a chop and stir affair, so you’ll likely have time to toast a big loaf of the best bread you can find and serve it with room temperature butter. Just because it’s salad month doesn’t mean you can’t eat bread, too.
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