com-posed adj (1607): free from agitation : CALM; esp : SELF-POSESSED  syn see COOL

A composed salad is, as I should have known but did not, the opposite of a tossed salad. I’d actually never given much thought as to whether the salads I make are composed or agitated, so I can see there’s quite a long way for me to go, culinarily speaking. In my recent salad research, then, I found lovely article by Jacques Pepin on the composed salad. It first appeared in the New York Times Magazine on August 4, 1991, a time Pepin had the foresight to refer to as “advent of a new American cuisine.” His grilled salmon and asparagus salad sounds particularly delicious, a perfect warm late spring meal. Hopefully Northern California’s upcoming commercial salmon season, the first in three years, will cooperate with a fresh, local ingredient so I can try it.

And now, in honor of National Poetry Month, I found for you a poem about salad:

Vegetables poem: Salad
by Mortimer Collins

O cool in the summer is salad,
And warm in the winter is love;
And a poet shall sing you a ballad
Delicious thereon and thereof.
A singer am I, if no sinner,
My muse has a marvellous wing,
And I willingly worship at dinner
The sirens of Spring

Take endive – like love it is bitter,
Take beet – for like love it is red;
Crisp leaf of the lettuce shall glitter,
And cress from the rivulet’s bed,
Anchovies, foam-born, like the lady
Whose beauty has maddened this bard;
And olives, from groves that are shady;
And eggs – boil ‘em hard.