You've heard the expression wet lettuce? Well there is something about lettuce and February that simply doesn't fit. OK, for my teenage son - a serious salad addict - yes, but for the rest of us, bulking up a salad is essential to meet the challenge of chill grey days. So, start with potatoes and beans - fresh or frozen:
Steam potatoes in their skins, and peel while still warm because it is easier. Chill and then cut into rough cubes. Dress them in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and finely chopped parsley and chives if you have them. Trim and cut up the beans and steam them until just done but still firm. Wash dry and tear up any leaves you might have like lettuce or frisee. Grill or fry a couple of slices of smoked bacon until crisp and crumble it, if you like – but the salad is very nice without. Make a dressing with a crushed clove of garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. Combine beans and potato and dress them. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, with crumbled bacon over the top. Crumbled salty fetta cheese would be an option as well.
An extension of this would be Salade Nicoise. Combine lettuce, cooked beans and potatoes, slices of onion, hard boiled eggs, anchovy fillets and best tinned tuna. Toss in the same dressing. Or you could sear on a hot griddle pann some thin slices of fresh tuna and serve them on top of the bean, potato and lettuce salad with a few fine slices of onion.