Since coming to California, I view my food tastes as having matured considerably … something you might hope would happen after two months of culinary school! To be honest, I view moving on from frozen yogurt to ice cream as the peak example of my increasing sophistication. Oh and also my new tradition of having a mini dessert every day. It’s all very French you see!!
However, not all my increasing maturity has been to do with dessert. Another key example has been getting more into simple dishes. We all know the theory that if you use good ingredients they can sort of speak for themselves … but I’ve always been such a condinment whore, not to mention consumer of over flavoured processed goods, that I found this hard to totally embrace. Sure I bought good produce (some of the time) but everything had to be smothered in hot sauce, mustard, parmesan … or sandwiched between some crusty bread. I used to explain to people that yes I liked avocado but ‘only in sandwiches’.
Recently though, all that has changed! Well, not all of it because I still do love mustard (and horseradish and parmesan.. and sandwiches). But I’ve also developed a kind of THING for simplicity. A great example of this has been one of my new favourite lunches of late – salads made from avocado, tomato and fresh herbs. Okay, they are then covered in some chopped olives (olives arent considered a condinment… are they?) and toasted walnuts, but they still. They have that air of simple sophistication. Especially when – gasp – they taste best with a dressing made from only olive oil and balsamic.
(Incidentally, as well making me feel like a beret wearing novelist every time I eat it, this is also the salad my health nut American best friend used to eat aaaall the time. Walking advertisement no?! And in case you want any specific details avocadoes are filled with healthy, and fresh, mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin E. SO good for skin, eyes and immunity! The only thing you want to be careful is making sure you eat the walnuts within a day or so of toasting them, as otherwise the fats can oxidise and turn a bit rancid).
Now, I realise this lunch idea is unlikely to have you emailing your loved ones and saying ‘ That Emilia of Wine and Butter.. she always has the most ORIGINAL ideas’. But, really I just wanted to post this more as inspiration to make your favourite seasonal salad for lunch this week (summer is, after all, the season to be doing it!). It’s so easy to get carried away thinking your food needs a million additions and seasonings and condiments and flavours… and believe me no-one loves strongly flavoured foods – and wacky combinations! – more than I. However, sometimes it’s so nice just to take a step back and eat simple things at their seasonal best. If this is a theory I can embrace than truly anyone can!!
PS- The reasons the salad in photo 1 looks so different to 3 & 4 is because the earlier shot was for photo purposes only. For photos 3 & 4 I filled the bowl in a realistic fahsion (with a total of 3 tomatoes, half an avocado and 1 /4 cup of toasted walnuts).
No-one should have to eat a salad with less than half an avocado.