Salad is served in Italy as a side dish to accompany a main course of meat or fish. A simple “Green Salad” is prepared with the famous “Italian dressing,” which is nothing but a combination of salt, wine vinegar (or lemon juice), and great tasting extra-virgin olive oil.
Ask Italians how to make a salad, and they will all agree on the ingredients but will argue about their proportions. This is why when you order a salad in Italy, you are presented with a little tray holding two small glass bottles of olive oil and vinegar, plus salt and pepper. The proportions of the ingredients are left at the discretion of the guest. Many people like to use lemon juice in the salad instead of vinegar for a more “fruity” taste, as indicated in this recipe.
Preparing the salad is easy, but requires some skill. Romans say it takes four people to make a salad properly: a wise man for the salt, a stingy one for the vinegar, a generous one for the oil, and a mad man to toss it all around. As a general rule, abundant oil is required, while it is better to be scarce with the vinegar. You can eventually add it later if more is required. Do not add vinegar to the salad ahead of time, but just before serving. The acidity would spoil the salad in a few minutes.
3/4 lb (300 g) green salads of different types, such as :
red leaf lettuce, etc.
salt to taste
4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place salad in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt.
Toss the salad.
Add vinegar or lemon juice
Add extra-virgin olive oil.
Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust the ingredients if necessary.
Do not prepare the salad ahead of time, but just before serving. The acidity of the vinegar (or lemon) would spoil the leaves, and after a few minutes, the salad would be ruined.