Salad recipes are the most versatile foods that a cook can prepare. If learning how to make salads, green salads can be the perfect start, finish or accent to any meal.
When we first think about salads, the fresh greens and vegetables come to mind. A greater variety of greens are now available in our markets than ever before.
In recent years with a heightened popularity has come greater thought as to what makes a good salad. Instead of using one type of greens two, three or more are being added into our salad bowls. Some of the lettuces are Bibb, iceberg, leaf, romaine or the mix of baby greens. Other greens consist of Chicory, Chinese cabbage, dandelion, escarole, kale, parsley, spinach or watercress. These combinations add different textures, color and flavor.
When choosing greens for your salad recipes, look for fresh, crisp and chilled ones. Always look carefully for wilted or discolored leaves in the lettuce. Pick out firm heads of lettuce and cabbage. Salad recipes are a good place to get in the raw vegetables so strongly recommended by nutritionists. In order to maintain the nutritional value, the vegetables should receive immediate attention after purchasing them and stored in a cool place.
Before serving, the washing of the salad greens is a very important task. It is best to use a large container. Place the greens in and cover with fresh cold water. Gently swish them around and drain the water. Repeat this process again and drain thoroughly. For heads of lettuces and cabbage, run a pan of water and add a little salt. Dip the heads into this. The salt will help to bring out any hidden bugs under the leaves. Then rinse the heads again in cold fresh water. If you are preparing these ahead of time place them after draining into a sealed plastic bag and place in refrigerator. This actually makes them crisper. The secret of a successful salad is thorough chilling and crisping of all ingredients.
When I worked at Disney, they had a rule to cut or tear everything into bite size pieces. I like that because it is easier for your guests to eat. Although cutting is faster when preparing a lot of salad greens tearing is really better. Tearing avoids bruising the leaves from the knife. NOTE: Never add the dressing until ready to serve unless a recipe specifically tells you to do so.
Eye appeal is very important when serving your salad recipes. A colorless salad can be improved by adding radish roses, celery or carrot curls. The salad bowl that you choose also adds to the eye appeal. For special occasions I prefer a crystal glass bowl. It lets the guests marvel at the beautiful colors of vegetables throughout the salad. The way you arrange the mixture and the way you garnish the top should be considered for the beauty of the salad.
A before the meal appetizer salad can be served such as the caprese salad. For a side dish to the meal a small simple toss salad made up of lettuce, a little shredded red cabbage, a few grated carrots and a cherry tomato blends well. Remember for appetizers and a meal side, keep the salad small and simple.
Salads have become a popular main meal attraction. This probably started with the chefs salad which is still one of my favorites. Many chefs were competing for their original chefs salad with their own unique ingredients. My favorite had all the mixed fresh vegetables, ham, and cheese and was served with a scoop of cottage cheese and a special thousand island dressing. I still make them and they are still good! With a main course salad, remember that it should contain some protein rich foods such as chicken, fish, meat or cheese; Often a combination of these foods. Meats can be marinated for more flavor and added to the salad right before serving.
Americans have begun implementing many fruit salad recipes in the diet, including many delicious congealed salads. Almost every fruit is now available in our supermarkets at our fingertips to use in these salad recipes. These are so refreshing especially in the summer and can be presented in many beautiful ways.
The following are a few tips to help handle and prepare a salad.
AVOCADO SALAD RECIPE
If you like avocados, you will find this one of the best salad recipes for an appetizer or side salad.
Combine the olive oil, blue cheese, juice, parsley, vinegar and mustard; blend well.
Make a bed of lettuce on each salad plate; slice ½ avocado on each plate.
Pour dressing over each; garnish with chopped parsley.
Place sliced cucumbers and tomatoes quarters around avocados; serves 8.
BEST SPINACH SALAD RECIPE
Combine all ingredients for dressing and blend well; let stand overnight.
Marinate mushrooms and onion in dressing for 2 hours.
Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat; serve immediately.
Serves 12 as appetizer salad.