This has been the easiest dish to make so far; probably predictably. It also ranked fairly high on the ‘mind-bending’ scale, mainly because I found myself torn between wanting to savor the flavor of the ‘green ice’ and salad dressings and trying to stave off massive brain freeze. It was funny eating this dish with my friends, because we all did that “o ya dis i reawy guh” talking that you do when you get some gelato and are trading flavor impressions.
It was easy enough that I’m partially-tempted to just pass on through and look towards my next dish; but to do that would be an injustice to this one, and I want every recipe to get the same consideration from me that it got from the Alinea crew. So, what can I do to expound on this? There are some obvious directions. I could make it ‘fancier’; The original incarnation is classic and simple, giving wide berth for each ingredient to speak for itself. The red wine vinaigrette I used was pretty mediocre, so in this context it ended up being ‘mediocre brain freeze’. Thomas Keller has an amazing recipe for vinaigrette in the Bouchon cookbook involving balsamic and mustard. He speaks eloquently about the quality of ingredients dictating the quality of the vinaigrette, and after making it many times with ingredients spanning the gamut of quality, I get it. Also, my friends are exceptionally creative when it comes to making interesting salads; there’s a lot of room to play with the various toppings I’ve been surprised by.
Also, I’d never really bothered to notice the various flavors of greens before moving to New Zealand. Growing up in a small town in KY, we didn’t have access to Whole Foods or wide varieties of greens, and I grew up thinking that iceberg lettuce wedges were the only thing a salad could be made of. This year, though, my partner and I have been growing our own greens, and I’ve enjoyed tasting the differences between them (if I had the time, I’d raise the same varieties of greens in various conditions, to see what kind of range each species can have). So one opportunity here is to try distilling the many types of fresh greens we have available into their purest form to see how they compare.
So. I’m going to mull it over for a few days, and see what kind of direction I can take this in.