Monday, January 7, 2013

Don't Push, It's Only a Salad

I love salad. No really, like love it. However, it's way better when someone else makes it, why is that? However, my partner in crime doesn't know how to make a salad. Well, he knows how, but I can't allow that. If I did we might only have lettuce with croutons. That's not a salad, that's like a bunch of green with stale bread. (Hi husband, I love you if you're reading).

But I have some tips for making salad, really good salad. So good you can make it yourself. Kind of like the first time you actually tied your shoelaces in a real bow. Smiling all proud only to realize everyone else mastered that one years ago. That didn't happen to you? Oh, me either. Moving on. To salads.
I only have iphone photos - need to pull out the camera

Know your Greens: I'm obsessed with Baby Kale right now! It's perfect and pre-washed. I find it at Whole Foods and it's labeled - Cooking Greens. And then in little letters it says Baby Kale. (I really don't think they need to be so sneaky.) Try different options for your green and get to undestand what you like and the texture of each. Boston bibb - nice and soft. Romaine - crunchy and watery. Arugula - peppery with a lemon flavor.

Toppings: Okay this can't be too little or too much. But it's all trial and error. The goal is to be able to taste each flavor and understand that each plays a role in this little salad. Remember the time you went to the salad bar and added every topping? Yeah that didn't taste so good, don't do that again. Salad Law (laws are serious, you can't break them): I like to add 2 or 3 additional veggies and sometimes a surprise guest. Some ideas:
  • Veggies: cucumber, radish, tomato, fennel (love this one), cabbage, pepper, onion, carrot
  • Surprise Guests: Avocado, feta, goat cheese, oranges/grapefruits, pumpkin seeds, prosciutto

Season Before Dressing: This one is HUGE. A lot of people season after the dressing stage but this doesn't allow the lettuce and veggies to get any love. It's sad, salad sad. Don't do it. Salt and pepper before you dress and we'll still be friends.
See the pepper on that fennel!

Basic Dressing: I think salads should be fresh, not sweet. It's okay we can fight about this, just don't push - it's not nice. My go-to is either half a lemon squeezed over the salad or a few splashes of rice wine vinegar, then finish off with a little GOOD olive oil. Here's the thing, the lettuce should not appear wet. So try to put a little oil on at first, mix, walk away and then return to taste the salad. This will allow you to adjust either the seasoning or any part of the dressing.

Oh and always use a big bowl. Really, are you waiting for a big party to use the big bowl? Unnecessary, just use it today. And remember, no pushing.

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