Greens to Eat by the Handful

Posted November 6, 2018 6:16 p.m. EST

Arugula salad with anchovy dressing, in New York. The salad serves as a Thanksgiving palate cleanser before the pie. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne. Prop Stylist: Courtney de Wet. (Christopher Testani/The New York Times)

Dahlia loves salad more than almost any food, desserts excepted. This means that aside from the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, salad is her favorite part of Thanksgiving, when she eats mounds of it.

There’s only one thing about Dahlia’s salad-eating that gives me pause. When she was a toddler, I encouraged her to eat salad with her fingers. It was easier for her. I’d also once read an article that said Alice Waters always ate salad with her hands. What’s good enough for Alice’s salad, I thought, is good enough for Dahlia’s.

But the habit stuck. Now she’s 10, and it’s nearly impossible to get her to use a fork. Even in restaurants. Even at the Thanksgiving table surrounded by all her utensil-wielding relatives.

The way Dahlia feels about salad is the way I feel about anchovies. I’m apt to sneak a few into salad dressings, which is what I’ve done here, puréeing them with garlic and parsley to toss with arugula. They add depth, but in a subtle, child-friendly way. Dahlia, who thinks she hates anchovies, doesn’t even know they are there.

Because we’re a family with Francophile inclinations, we serve our salad at the end of the Thanksgiving meal, just before the dishes are cleared. That way, we can use the leaves to dab at the last slicks of gravy and bits of stuffing. It makes a tangy plate cleaner and palate cleanser before the pie — for which even Dahlia uses a fork.

Cooking tips: Salad Dressing

— You can adjust the dressing’s pungency by adding or subtracting anchovies.

— The dressing will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but the oil will solidify. Take it out at least an hour before serving, and shake it really well.

— Basil or chives can be substituted for the parsley for a more pronounced herbal flavor.

— This dressing is terrific on other salad greens too, so feel free to substitute your favorite for the arugula.

———Arugula Salad With Anchovy Dressing

Yield: 12 servings

Total time: 10 minutes

1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus more if needed

2 fat garlic cloves, finely grated or minced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed

2 to 4 anchovies, or more to taste

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 quarts arugula (about 1 pound)

Flaky sea salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a blender, combine lemon juice, garlic and kosher salt. Let sit for 2 minutes, then add anchovies and parsley, and blend to combine.

2. With blender running, drizzle in oil until emulsified. Taste and add more lemon or kosher salt if necessary.

3. In a large bowl, toss together arugula and just enough of the dressing to coat the leaves (you may not need all of it). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper and serve immediately.