Something about being on my own for a few days (Erin’s at a course for work) always makes me want to treat myself by making really good food. I’m not sure why this is; maybe it’s my way of proving to myself that I’m worth it. Or maybe I just don’t want to share with Erin. The funny thing is that while I always really enjoy making such special meals for myself, when it comes time to eat them I realize that it’s just not the same without someone to share with. Yet I continue to do it!
So on the menu for me this weekend is the very best food that I make: gnocchi! I’m not sure what kind of sauce to have it with; I usually make a cauliflower-gorgonzola sauce but I think I’m in the mood for something lighter. Maybe just a simple ultra-garlicky tomato sauce since I’ll be alone to sit in my own stench afterward.
But that’s for another post. Today I want to share a simple, luxurious, healthy salad I’ve been a lot making recently. It’s simple to make–quarter or halve six or so mushrooms, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, roast or broil them in a really hot oven (I just use a toaster oven at 500 degrees) for about 7-10 minutes so that they char a little bit, and serve on top of baby spinach leaves. Dress with lemon juice, your best olive oil, and some salt and “fresh cracked black,” as my least favorite chef, Guy Fieri, likes to say. Then make it look really nice by shaving some parmesan onto it with a vegetable peeler.
This actually started out as a Mario Batali recipe, what he calls “the most luxurious salad in the entire book.” But the rotund red-haired one uses porcini mushrooms; I just use cremini (also called baby bella), since for some strange reason I rarely take trips to the Italian countryside to forage for porcini. And Mario uses arugula instead of spinach; I like spinach for the nutrition and because it seems like I always use arugula.
I’m not going to give this salad a cow-rating. It’s a salad, and salads always play second fiddle to main dishes for me. So I’d need to make up an entirely new rating system if I wanted to be fair. Maybe calves, or cows playing fiddles marked “#2.” And we don’t want to go into all that. But you can see in the picture that I’m enjoying the salad. That is, if you can look beyond the undeniable forlornness of having no wife to share it with. Maybe I’d have enjoyed it a little more if I had filled up one of those wine glasses behind me with a nice Rosso di Montalcino! But that can wait for the gnocchi.