Dinners with family and/or friends in the MM home have become increasingly impromptu and extremely casual over the years… a perfect excuse to try out a “salad bar” idea I have had ever since my wooden planks were put into use. The arrival of Gejo’s farm bounty, combined with a weekend and a scuttled plan to have pizza at restaurant that turned out to be closed on Sundays(?!), meant everyone ended up at home for a casual dinner of salad, pasta and pizza.
Onto the middle of our dining table, propped on smaller pieces of sampalok wood, were two of the acacia boards I featured a while back, here. I then arranged an assortment of washed and ready to eat greens and veggies and other nibbles on the board, with the idea that guests would craft their own salads, add micro greens to their pizza(s), sprinkle herbs on their pasta, however they wished and in whatever quantity they desired.
Piles of baby arugula joined fresh sorrel, grilled and peeled red capsicum, avocado, several kinds of tomatoes, sliced oranges, etc.
All kinds of mini and micro-greens and shredded carrots and cucumbers made for an incredibly colorful and vibrant “buffet” that would make someone averse to vegetables have as violent an attack on the senses as a vegetarian would have at a whole hog barbecue.
Wooden tongs, wood spreaders, salad servers and other natural looking serving utensils were added to the planks of wood, mismatched pottery plates and bowls.
At one end of the spread we added a little serving bowl filled with leftover black fish roe (read: cheap caviar) and a platter of home-cured gravlax. Some baguettes from Eric Kayser were served warm or toasted. Salad dressing as well as good oils and vinegars were provided as well. All of the greens were freshly washed and chilled until 10 minutes before guests arrived, to ensure they would remain fresh in our blistering heat wave of the moment. It helped that all air conditioners were on full blast! I thought the buffet worked rather nicely. It took away the need for a centerpiece or expense on flowers, but it made dinner a very interactive, lively and interesting kind of casual meal.