In Praise of the Humble Salad

If there is a cuisine that America can truly call its own, then this has to be it.

So much so, that I’m going to make no attempt to replicate the many and varied recipes that make up that country’s version of “salad”.

Hopefully, one of my readers will take up the challenge and produce a cookbook that is devoted entirely to American salads in all their glory.

What sets them apart?

It’s really very simple. Fresh, brightly colored ingredients, stuffed with flavor and oozing with contrast in terms of texture
and appearance. In my view, heaven on a plate.

But you don’t have to wait for the cookbook to come out. Just use your imagination.

One of the backbones of an American salad is the use of crisp. fresh lettuce, and in particular the younger leaves. A classic example of this is the Caesar salad, which has gained a firm foothold here in Australia.

Not that Caesar would recognize it – or even Caesar’s Palace where this particular dish is reputed to have begun its career –
from the strange concoctions that find their way onto Sydney restaurant tables.

The golden rules

The first rule is, everything must be fresh. The second rule is,
everything must be fresh. Guess what the third rule is?

I knew it. You are way ahead of me!

You also need to consider color. I’m not talking about the violent clashes that fruit such as tomatoes can introduce, although they may be very welcome, but simply go back to basics and always try to introduce at least three colors into your dish. 20 Piece Set for Home Kitchen Restaurant Hotel Service for 4 B07NSVTT83

The same is true of flavors. There is no need to stop at three, but you certainly should not have less.

Salads are great. Because they are usually cold,(warm chicken salad is an obvious exception) almost any number of flavors can be introduced without canceling each other out.

It follows, therefore, that the same is true of ingredients. The
amount and variety is infinite, limited only by your imagination.

Handling

Salad leaves are much more delicate than they first appear and will reward careful handling.

Try to avoid washing them, for example; just wipe them with a damp cloth or sponge and dry them with kitchen paper afterwards.
That’s important. Salad dressing will not stick to wet leaves. It contains oil, remember.

And above all, never ever cut salad leaves with a knife. They will quickly go brown at the cut edge and limp shortly afterwards.

Instead, tear the leaves with your hands just before serving, which is also the time to add any dressing. Treat any herbs, such as basil, that you may be adding in exactly the same way. The later you leave this, the crisper your salads will be.

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