I Could Be the Salad Dressing King


If you love salad, this is not the country for you.

When we gather together with Porteños for the express purpose of eating, we often make a very simple mock Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and a dressing that consists of a garlic/salt paste, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, and some olive oil. (In the US, we add croutons, but they’re hard to find here and I can’t be bothered to make them.)

The addition of salad to the meal is generally received with a low level of enthusiasm, at least initially, by the local set. Then, once my Argentine friends taste the green stuff, they invariably start raving…ooohs and aaahs abound. What is the recipe? What is in this salad? This salad is great!?!

Why does this simple concoction garner such attention? Because it actually has dressing on it, something that is nearly impossible to find here. Last night at an asado with friends, a wonderful older Argentinian-Italian man kept muttering to himself, mouth full of romaine, “cheese and lettuce, cheese and lettuce…I would never think to put those together and that they would taste so good! I can’t believe it…cheese and lettuce!”

What does pass for dressing in Argentina? I’m afraid it’s often a bottle of corn oil and a bottle of white or cider vinegar. If that’s not bad enough, the other dressing option is essentially a packet of mayonnaise. Good Lord, it can’t be a surprise that so few like to eat vegetables here!

Photo by Flickr user WordRidden used under a Creative Commons license.

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