“I’ll have the salad,” feels so good to say. But whenever I do, I quietly wonder if the growling of my stomach will outpace my crunching. When meeting a friend for lunch, or going out to dinner with my amazingly svelte mother-in-law, salad seems inevitable. When sitting around a table in the summer dusk, a dinner salad is the world’s most perfect thing; an ode to what’s fresh where you are, an invitation to use a single plate, a reason to eat more raw vegetables than one otherwise might. To linger over such a salad feels like the good life.
Not so if I am in a rush, or urgently hungry, or both which happens many a weekday lunch.
Then, leafy salads make me mad. They’re hard to eat. The leaves are evasive. Only so many will fit on a fork at once, and those few I finally manage to spear struggle to escape their fate, their fringes swatting my cheek and leaving behind tickly traces of dressing before my teeth can contain them. Remember the ladies-laughing-alone-while-eating-salad meme from last year? Know why those ladies were laughing? Me neither. I enjoy laughing and I like salad, but not simultaneously. Salad requires too much attention to be hilarious. But something that does make me pretty happy is making a big, tall leafy salad, dressing it lightly, and locking the whole lacy construction within a prison of crusty bread or even a giant flour tortilla.
If living well is the best revenge, the salad sandwich is the best revenge lite. Even the wildest salad can be thus tamed in the following way: scoop out the middle of a 1/3 baguette, a Portuguese roll, or any other kind of sturdy bread on a nice long piece of waxed paper. Mound a ridiculous amount of salad on top. Now act as if you are packing for a long trip with a small carry-on suitcase. Tuck stray leaves in with your thumbs. Roll the salad sandwich into the paper, tucking tightly as you go. Then slice through the whole thing and take a bite. But what to do if you find yourself at a restaurant with my mother-in-law? Simply order the salad…and a hollowed out baguette.
Heather is the culinary editorial director for Cooking Channel. In addition to her tips for turning a salad into a sandwich, Heather also schooled us in how to build a better burger.
Work off of these great salad recipes to build your first salad sandwich recipe.