In Italy, where food is always seasonal and abundant, the salad is served at the end of the meal, after the main course and before dessert. The salad course tends to be underwhelming after the bounty of the antipasti (the starter), the primi (the first course, typically a pasta, risotto, or soup), the secondi (meat and seafood), and the contorni (the vegetable-based sides). The insalata is often made up of just one or two types of greens, although whatever’s fresh and looks good might be served. Traditionally, you’ll be left to dress the salad yourself using just olive oil and vinegar, as well as some salt and pepper. For many who first experience this, the salad can seem, well, almost naked.
But what about Italian dressing? Well, Italian dressing isn’t actually Italian. Pre-packaged dressing in general isn’t a thing in Italy. Whenever you are served a salad in a home or at a restaurant, you’ll be brought small carafes of oil and vinegar. Although it takes some getting used to, there’s a reason this is how it’s done and likely will always be done in Italy. Italian food is all about quality ingredients and letting individual flavors come through—nothing too complicated or overworked.
Likewise, when you start with fresh, organic Earthbound Farm produce, there’s little you need to make it delicious. Whether it’s our Organic Spring Mix, or one of our other Organic Salad Blends, an oil and an acid, along with some salt, is all you’ll ever need to make premium produce shine. Eat our fresh Organic Baby Spinach straight from the container and you can taste the difference—it’s rich, tender, and hearty. A salad of our Organic Baby Arugula—which is peppery and light—needs nothing but a squeeze of lemon, some quality extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt. It’s the perfect complement to a meal of grilled meat or fish.
Perhaps the Italians can teach us a few things, like simplifying in order to optimize pleasure at the table. At your next dinner, try serving our organic salad greens with only olive oil, vinegar, and salt, and let your guests dress their bowls themselves. If they find it odd, simply explain it’s the Italian way. Once they taste the fresh, quality flavors at the forefront, they’ll come around.