I have a friend, whom I will call “C,” who is very wise, and also pretty healthy. She loves to hike, bike, and camp, and goes out of her way to make sure her meals are healthful and beautiful, flavorful and simple. C also goes out of her way to make sure that lots of children in our community eat well by connecting them to local, organic, fresh ingredients, and instilling in them a deep appreciation for what comes from the earth. And she also has a talent for this salad, amongst other things.
Over the years I have tried to duplicate C’s salad, and although she has shared the list of ingredients, if without exact amounts (a little of this, a little of that), it just wasn’t the same. The juice of a lime (what size?), grapeseed oil (I tried canola and olive—I doubted her and am humbled), a little salt, and some nice spoonfuls of sugar. Those things combined with tender lettuce, thinly sliced cukes, bits of cilantro, some creamy avocado, and there you have it—light, crunchy, soft, fresh, and very, very green.
Start with the softest most buttery greens you can find: Bibb or Boston lettuces are ideal. Second best would be red or green leaf lettuce, if you must, but try to steer clear of any crunchy or spicy greens such as romaine, or arugula. Not that it would be bad, but it would counter the delicateness of the dressing.
After much tinkering, here is as close as I can come to C’s Sublime Lime Salad:
· Juice of one large fresh lime, ¼ cup (pulp in, seeds out)
· ¼ cup grapeseed oil (such a light delicate flavor, worth buying just for this salad)
· ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
· 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (I add 3 but do what you will)
· Butter and/or Bibb lettuce, a few of the tiny heads, chopped into bite-sized pieces
· 1 long English cucumber or a few small Persian cucumbers, skin on, sliced very thinly
· Fresh cilantro; I throw in a nice handful of leaves and sometimes I leave them on the stems
· A large ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
1. Assemble the lettuce, cukes, cilantro, and avocado in a salad bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, salt, sugar, and then slowly whisk in the grapeseed oil.
3. Toss lime dressing with greens. Experience the sublime, or enjoy a great salad at the very least.