I heard the expression “salad days” before. I had a vague sense of its meaning. I thought if somebody said, “These are my salad days,” it meant, these were the days of abundance and youth, almost like the word heyday, the peak of experience. That understanding catches most of the meaning, but there’s a little more detail to it.
In fact, “salad days” is from Shakespeare.
(Of course it is, what isn’t?)
Cleopatra says, in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra:
…My salad days,/When I
was green in judgment, cold
in blood/To say as I said
She regrets her youthful dalliance with Julius Caesar. She was green in judgment and cold in blood. Like a salad!
I like the way a person can sum herself up to a food item. If a person is very young and rambunctious: My beans days. If a person is very old and tired: My wilted eggplant days.
In any case, this time of year always reminds me of the expression “salad days,” because the weather is warm and it’s a fun, feel-good time of year. And plus, we eat a lot of salad because gardens and markets are blooming with produce.
The following salad recipe is such a good example of using what’s in season, especially blueberries, corn and basil. The quinoa gives it a protein pack, and it can stand alone as a whole meal or a side dish. I’m serving mine as part of our family 4th of July dinner this coming weekend.
Enjoy your salad (days)!
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa, any color
- 3 ears corn, shucked
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1½ teaspoon minced garlic from a jar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped red onions (about ½ a red onion)
- 2 cups baby spinach (or other baby greens)
- ¼ cup chopped, fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh chives
- ¼ cup toasted, chopped walnuts
- Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat.
- Place corn straight onto the grill without oil or salt. Grill, rotating the corn every 2 or 3 minutes until evenly charred and cooked, about 12 minutes total.
- Allow the corn to cool enough so that it can be handled. Cut the corn kernels away from the cob.
- In a small jar, add the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Shake until combined into a dressing.
- Place the quinoa, corn, blueberries, red onions, baby greens, basil, chives and walnuts. Toss salad ingredients with the dressing.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.