We often eat salads in the summer and because I only use organic greens I am restricted in using what is available at our local health food store. At the moment it's this- a simple lettuce crop which ends up wilted by the time I get home:
But no worries because I enjoy reviving this crop so that it looks juicy and fresh again. When I come home I place the lettuce in a large bowl of ice cold water (you can also just do this in the sink). I leave it in the water for about 15 minutes. Then I separate the leaves and wash them under a running tap of cold water and finish off by shaking off the water off the leaves. Each leaf is placed in a well moistened clean tea towel which I place in a bowl. The greens are completely covered with the tea towel and placed in the fridge. The next day I open the tea towel and end up with fresh, cold, rejuvenized greens which are ready to use for the salad. Lettuce will stay much longer fresh if you store it this way:
I always have different dried fruits in my pantry and figs are one of my favourite to use. I take about four or five dried figs and cook them until they are soft, but still firm so they don't fall apart when I cut them. I take them out of the cooking water and let them cool down first before cutting them.
The vinaigrette is made with fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are wonderful to have in the kitchen. You can use them for different recipes and also use them to make a sweet fennel tea. This tea is good to use if you have a stomach ache and I also gave my children fennel tea when they were babies. Using fennel seeds in a dressing aids digestion.
To make the vinaigrette I crush the fennel seeds together with a little garlic and some Himalaya or another course salt. For one serving of salad I'll use about 2 tsp of fennel seeds:
I then add a little flaxseed oil which I use now in all my salad dressings for the extra health benefits. I use 2 tsp flax oil for the dressing. I continue to crush and blend the seeds, salt and garlic with this oil:
I'll also add a little of a rich flavoured olive oil for the taste. Now add red wine vinegar- official a vinaigrette uses 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. I use more vinegar in this dressing because I want to give the salad a kick. Pour the dressing in a small plastic bowl with a lid and shake the dressing before adding it to the salad.
For the salad cut the now cold figs and add the pieces to the salad greens. I also added celery, avocado, fresh dill and chives. I suppose you can use onions instead of chives, but with the kids I never use onions in my salads. I also added these almond olives, but you can also use simple green olives and add toasted blanched almonds instead.