Mark Bittman: Genius

I don’t own any Mark Bittman cookbooks, but every time I’ve used someone else’s, I am always confused by how easy the recipes are. Put salmon in a pan with butter and spices? Sounds too simple; turns out to be totally delicious.

I’d been running out of ideas and energy for veggies and salads when I came across an old Bittman article: Recipes for 101 Simple Salads for the Season.

MY HERO.

Tonight I will give this bad boy a shot:

27. Cook whole, unpeeled eggplant in a dry, hot skillet or on a grill, turning occasionally, until completely collapsed and soft. Chop and toss with toasted pita, toasted pine nuts, cooked white beans and halved cherry tomatoes. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and lots of black pepper. Or a (non-vegan) yogurt dressing is good, especially one laced with tahini.

Other salads I bookmarked for later:

Fall Favorites
16. Slice fennel and crisp apple about the same thickness (your choice). Combine, then dress with mustardy vinaigrette and chopped parsley. Come fall, this will be even better.

Fanciness
81. Soak sliced prune plums or figs in balsamic vinegar for a few minutes, then add olive oil, chopped celery and red onion, shreds of roasted or grilled chicken, chopped fresh marjoram or oregano and chopped almonds. Serve on top of or toss with greens. So good.

Combinations I Never Considered
92. Simmer a cup of bulgur and some roughly chopped cauliflower florets until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Toss with chopped tarragon, roughly chopped hazelnuts, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, olive oil and lemon juice.

I Love Avocado
21. Dice cucumbers (if they’re fat and old, peel and seed them first) and toss with cubes of avocado, a little mirin (or honey), rice vinegar and soy sauce. (You could mix in a little lump crab meat, even rice, and call it a California roll salad.)

DEAR GOD LOOK AT THIS
44. Make a crisp grilled cheese sandwich, with good bread and not too much good cheese. Let it cool, then cut into croutons. Put them on anything, but especially tomato and basil salad. This you will do forever.

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