Skip to main content

Salad Making 101

A few years back I gave a class on salad making to a group of women keen on healthy eating. As I set about picking the recipes for the class, I set thinking what constitutes a perfect salad for me. For I have rarely turned to recipes when making a salad. I just find the combinations that work.

And how do you find those combinations, my class asked. And here's my answer, my philosophy of salad making.

I think of a salad as four distinct constituents.

1. First comes the base. The lettuce of a green salad, the macroni in a pasta salad, bread in panzanella - these are the ingredients that define what the salad is.

2. Next is what I call fillers. These are ingredients (maybe one, but usually 2-3) that complement the base. And I dont just mean complement here in taste. Think looks, think color, think what will make your salad beautiful. What I do is find flavors that work together, and yet have colors that constrast.

3. The third item on my list is what I can only describe as flavor bursts. This is something that really packs a punch, even when used in really small quantities. I am talking about herbs, nuts, a drizzle of chesse. The possibilities are endless. Just remember we are looking for a conflicting flavor here - the bigger the flavor shock, the better for our salad.

4. Finally comes the dressing. The debate between mayonnaise lovers and vinaigrette lovers will go on until eternity, so go ahead and pick what works best for you.

Now that we are done with this mini lecture on salad making, lets make a salad that turns all this thinking on its head. A confused, thoroughly mixed-up (for who's to say what's base and what's filler here) yet imminently likeable salad. Let's make the classic greek salad.



First collect all ingredients. Wash and pat dry romaine lettuce leaves. If you have largish leaves, tear them (never take a knife to lettuce, but you know that already!). Keep small leaves as is.

Next peel and chop a cucumber in cubes. Also chop a scallion. Wash some cherry tomatoes, take some olives out of that can and cube some feta. For color, use bright red tomatoes and black olives. I went for flavor instead and picked yellow cherry tomatoes and green olives. Plonk everything into a salad bowl and then make your dressing.

Mix 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar with as much salt and pepper as you like, pour over your salad and toss to finish.

Comments

Gaurav said…
Hi. This is a neat post ...really informative. Makes for a good reading. A cool blog too. A must read for me going forward.
bee said…
thanks for dropping by , simran. you have a lovely blog here.
Anonymous said…
exactly what is needed for our hot summer days.

Popular posts from this blog

Blog Picks : Soft Yogurt Sandwich Rolls

Much before I started blogging, I started reading through food blogs. And bookmarking recipes I would like to try some time. The list has grown so long that it would soon be enough to last me a lifetime. So I have decided to give my experiments in the kitchen a rest and go the tried and tested way with choice picks from my favorite blogs. The first blog pick comes from a baker who inspired me to bake my first cookie. I never miss a recipe on her blog, but this one was specially appealing. For I haven't graduated to baking a loaf yet and I wanted to bake buns before I take the big leap. So here comes this recipe for soft sandwich rolls and I promptly bookmarked it. Nicole has an excellent step-by-step recipe on her site so I am not going to repeat it here. But I must say that the buns were easy to make, and super yummy. I halved her recipe and made smaller rolls so ended up with eight of them. They never reached the making sandwiches stage because a few were eaten straight

Announcing AWED : Britain

Before I ate my first Italian wood fired pizza, before I went to that swanky Japanese sushi bar for the first time, or the neighborhood Chinese joint, the first non-Indian cuisine I encountered was British. Not real food, mind you, but the tempting, oh so delicious descriptions in my favorite novels. From Enid Blyton to Jane Austen to P.G. Wodehouse, every favorite character in every favorite novel seems to have food on their mind. Yes, British food gets ridiculed a lot. But forget their main course dishes for now, and think of the full English breakfast and the elegant afternoon teas. Then try imagining the world without cucumber sandwiches or potato chips and you will realize you can't do without British food. Which is why when I saw that DK was looking for hosts for her monthly event AWED (A Worldly Epicurean's Delight) and there has never been a British AWED, I promptly signed up. The rules are simple really: Make any vegetarian or vegan British dish (eggs are

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old. That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit. Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fru