End-of-meal salad with green lettuces, green and purple basil, chevril, cilantro and mint.
Garden herbs, June 2018.


I eat green salad almost every day, often at the end of a meal. It gives such a bright finish.

One of the best things I have learned about country cooking in Italy is the liberal use of herbs in salads. The aromatic leaves of mint, basil, parsley, cilantro and chervil are not treated very differently than the aromatic leaves of rocket, spinach and different lettuces.

You can put as many herbs in your salad as you like. Instead of seasoning, consider them an ingredient.

With a simple meal, I combine gently washed and dried lettuces such as romaine, frisée, rocket and radicchio with a substantial bunch of herbs. The combination varies but you are most likely to find some mint, chervil, flat-leaf parsley and cilantro in my summer salad.

There are also days when the simplest salad is the best. I might go for baby gem lettuce dressed with a good garlic or mustard vinaigrette.

Sometimes I add a small bulb of fennel sliced thinly with a mandolin to my green salad. Alternatively, I might add some fresh mozzarella di bufala, tearing it with hands into bite sized pieces.

This summer, the best green salad I have eaten so far had sliced strawberries and pink rose petals in it. So pretty!

With mozzarella di bufala, I often go for a light sauce of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. When I make salad out of vegetables only, I love a strong vinaigrette made of red wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper.

You can prepare your salad base by washing and drying all the leaves well in advance of the meal, and store them in the fridge. However, a green salad will not stay fresh long after you have dressed it. Add dressing only just before serving.