The first lunchtime salad I regularly serve is this simple hard cheese salad. Known as 'lunchbox salad' by me, this is the little salad that my Mum used to pop in for me if ever I needed a packed lunch for school. Shredded Little Gem lettuce (rather than the original Iceberg), diced celery and grated carrot are combined with a bit of grated cheese (strong cheddar for Chris, 'Special Reserve' Red Leicester for JD, who is clearly becoming a food snob!) and a scattering of salted peanuts. Obviously, times have moved on and heads would surely spin, were I to attempt to send this peanut-studded salad into school with my kids so we eat it with nuts at home, with croûtons for school trips and the like.
Croûtons are another easy way to add crunch to a salad, but don't forget some of the things that you can easily buy and stash in the cupboard for quick salad-bar assemblies. Bacos, or similar bacon crumbles are great with this easy blue cheese salad dressing, again served simply over some shredded leaves (usually Gem or Romaine). You can also get some rather addicting little fried onion shreds which are divine in a salad of this sort. They're called 'Onion Crispies', but 'crispy' is such an idiotic word that we'll quickly gloss over that fact...
Blue Cheese Dressing
25g blue cheese, crumbled (I usually use Danish Blue, but anything goes!)
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp crème fraîche
Gently heat the crème fraîche and the vinegar with the crumbled cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted. Taste it and add a dash of pepper if you like. You probably won't want any salt, but you may want a dot more vinegar or crème fraîche. This is also rather lovely as a dip, especially with leftover chicken strip from fajitas (naughty, naughty!).