It's cold outside. In fact, for the past week or so, it's been damn cold for Los Angeles. I know it's January and the middle of Winter, but in Southern California that usually means some rain and highs in the 70's, maybe 60's. But it's cold...and I mean, 'bring in your tender plants, frost advisory in the San Fernando Valley, 34 degrees at 7 a.m.' cold. Unusual. Strange. Downright weird. I had to break out the leather jacket, sweaters, and thermal shirts. The heat has been running every night.
Now, in weather like this, you want foods that speak of warmth and comfort. Soups, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, a cup of hot chocolate as you're sitting on your couch wrapped in blankets, bundled up and cozy. How about a salad? Not the first thing you think of eating when it's cold outside. I, myself, am guilty of not eating much salad once there's a chill in the air and the Season of Gluttony begins (roughly the time between Thanksgiving to New Year's). Cookies, wine, cookies, pasta, cookies, cheese, candy, bourbon, bread, and cookies is more like the list of what I consume during the holidays. There may be a vegetable thrown in there for good measure. But the holidays are over, it's time to stop the over-indulging, and maybe you've promised yourself to pay more attention to what you're eating and get yourself back to the gym. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
A salad on a cold afternoon is much more appealing when it's topped with a warm vinaigrette. I also added a heap of beans and thick shavings of Parmesan cheese. The vinaigrette is an easy to whip together recipe from the Food52 site and while it's not advertised as a warm dressing, it's delicious warm with the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire in it. Add whatever beans you like to this. I made a white and red beans mix the day before, just because I have so much in the pantry and want to use them more frequently. They ended up in a bean and vegetable soup, beans and rice, and this salad. I was lucky enough to gather arugula and curly green lettuce from my window box before the cold nights got to them. The parsley has held up, thankfully.
January Salad with Warm Vinaigrette
1 cup spinach greens
1 cup lettuce
1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3/4 cup beans, cooked
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Salad Dressing (from Food52)
Mix all your ingredients in a bowl. Heat 1/4 cup of vinaigrette over low heat for 5 minutes. Add shaved Parmesan and drizzle with dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.