Like rotisserie chickens and pre-cut fruit, bag salad kits and bagged lettuces are a way of life for many. But the recent recall of chopped romaine lettuce further clarified the reason I don’t have a whole lot love for bagged salad.
On occasion, I do buy them. Like everyone else I get into a rush and a bag salad or salad kit is an easy grab-and-go buy. It certainly answers the convenience call. Extra minutes are extra minutes, and everyone values time spent on a task.
While the convenience factor is huge, I do wonder about the quality and just how long those chopped lettuces have been in that bag.
But what probably gets to me the most is how much they cost. While costs vary by brand, like being triple washed they can be triple the price of buying a fresh head of lettuce.
And with salad kits, it’s also the amount of ingredients. A few months ago, I bought a Caesar salad kit at a price of $3-something. While around a $1 per person doesn’t seem like much, you can buy a whole head of romaine or other leafy lettuce for about $1.50 and it will feed more than three people.
As the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., has expanded, federal authorities were urging people who bought chopped romaine lettuce in the United States to throw it away.
Since salads are ever popular, this recipe offers an alternative to romaine. It’s a main dish salad topped with sweet pan-seared scallops, and it comes loaded with any greens you like.
To prepare the greens, including arugula, Bibb and romaine, I use a method adapted from Bon Appétit magazine: Fill a large bowl or clean sink with cold water. Have ready a clean, absorbent kitchen towel or several layers of paper towel. Remove the core from the lettuce or stem and separate the leaves. Add the leaves to the water and swish them around to agitate them and rinse off any dirt. Let the lettuce sit for a few minutes so the dirt sinks to the bottom of the bowl or sink. Remove the leaves from the water and shake off the excess water.
Then lift the lettuce, holding it over the bowl or sink, and allow the water to drain. Spread the lettuce on a clean, absorbent kitchen towel and roll up the towel. Place in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator.