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Good morning. I had dinner with one of my kids at Lucali the other evening, Mark Iacono’s pizzeria in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I think of the place as, basically, a church of pie, and Mark the rector. He was serving a new salad: meatballs on top of a pile of iceberg studded with red onion, tomato, black olives and celery, the whole thing absolutely drenched in a sharp, salt-vinegary dressing that was pink with tomato juices, like the stuff at the bottom of the salad bowl at the end of a big family dinner. It was crazily delicious. And if you fry up some meatballs tonight, you could make it your no-recipe recipe for the week.
The trick is in the proportions of oil and vinegar in the dressing. Read Julia Moskin’s excellent “How to Make Salad,” and pay particular attention to her teachings on the subject of basic vinaigrette. Hers is a delicious dressing. But you’ll want in this case to forget what you’ve learned, and to increase the amount of vinegar in the dressing until you’re a little nervous about it. Then you’ll double down on the salt. You’re looking for big flavor. Take a small tomato and squeeze it into the bowl. Maybe add a splash of olive brine. Whisk it all into an emulsified funk. Adjust all dials to 11. It should taste like a cartoon salad dressing: its features larger than life.
Pour what you’ve made over cold greens, extremely liberally, some sliced celery tops, quartered tomatoes, black olives, slivered onions. Then plop a couple meatballs on top and serve with sesame bread. It doesn’t sound like much, perhaps. But it’s really, really good.
Though if you’d like an actual recipe to cook, I can oblige. Pan-roasted fish with capers, say? Korean fried cauliflower? Portobello patty melts? Crisp smashed potatoes with fried onions and parsley? I think a sheet-pan dinner tonight — chicken with chickpeas, cumin and turmeric — would be pretty grand. And an apple crumble for dessert? Yes, please.
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