Anything goes for salad start
For Eric Ripert, a salad can be an anything-goes experience. So long as it’s small.
“I don’t generally eat a salad as my only course,” said Mr. Ripert, chef-owner of the three-Michelin-star Le Bernardin restaurant in New York and the Westend Bistro in the District, in an email interview. “Therefore a salad, for me, is part of a meal. I love plain green salads - anything goes, arugula, bibb, Boston, watercress, mache, etc. But I also sometimes like the salad to be composed, but it has to be small.
“A salad is for me the opening of a meal.”
Salads even can open the eyes of a young boy.
“Salad nicoise made with canned tuna in olive oil, basically the real deal, reminds me of my childhood in Nice,” he said. “I also remember eating at about age 13 a baby spinach salad covered with thin slices of foie gras, which was out of this world.”
Mr. Ripert offered a recipe he created while visiting Vietnam. It blends crunchy, tart green papaya with shrimp and calamari, then dresses everything with fresh mint and cilantro and a splash of lime juice and pungent fish sauce.
GREEN PAPAYA SALAD WITH SHRIMP AND CALAMARI
1/2 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large green papaya, peeled, seeded and julienned (unripe mango can be substituted)
1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced