Happy New year! Follow these tips and you can never have a bad salad day! My top 10 tips to make a really cracking salad. Read on…
This is my new year gift to you – my top tips for making a really good salad 🙂
‘Tis the beginning of a new year and new year means new resolutions. Eating better and getting healthier are a part of most people’s new year resolutions. And what’s a better way to start than including a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet, closest to their natural form. Salads are the perfect vehicle to get your 5+ servings a day of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Chock a block with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber, eating one salad a day can go a long way to a healthier you in 2016!
So, these are my top tips to make a really cracking salad in your kitchen.
- Start with fresh ingredients. While a vegetable not at its peak freshness can be somewhat salvaged in a vegetable curry, it will drastically bring down the quality of a salad as there is nowhere to hide.
2\. Buy one of those large sized plastic tubs to wash lettuce. Fill it with cool water, swish the lettuce and other salad greens in the water and all the sand / soil will get collected at the bottom. Discard this water and repeat the process 2 more times or until the water runs clean. You can use a salad spinner to dry the leaves. No salad spinner? Then use the totally fun pillow-case trick! In a large cotton pillow case, place the washed leaves, twist the end closed and spin/swing it around for a bit. The cotton case will absorb all the water, giving you nice and dry leaves. Soggy greens do not hold the dressing well, so this is one of the most important steps.
3. Deseed watery vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber before using them in a salad. These are notorious for taking your salad to soggy-ville! To deseed, use a paring knife, quarter the vegetable and scoop out the seeds.
4\. Dressings are all about the perfect balance. Ensure you have the something sour, spicy, sweet (optional) and salty, all in the right quantities to make that perfect tasting dressing. Taste as you go and adjust the various components. To ‘taste’ a dressing, use a salad leaf dipped in the dressing instead of slurping it with a spoon 🙂
5\. To add a sweet, fruity tinge to dressings, use any leftover jam or marmalade. Place the jam jar (assuming its glass) with leftover jam, without the lid in the microwave for 10-20 seconds until the marmalade / jam is runny. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and any other ingredients you’ve lined up for your dressing into this jam jar and whisk / shake it all together. Voila, ready to dress up your salad!
6\. The mini battery operated coffee frother is the best little gadget you can buy to whisk up smooth and luscious dressings in small jars. However, don’t use the same piece to whisk dressings and froth your coffee, the vinegar from dressing has quite a strong taste!
7\. Tossing salads is not a show of strength or to show off the fancy salad tossers you’ve bought! Toss your salad very gently using your finger tips so as not to bruise the leaves. Use the biggest size bowl you can find to avoid over crowding and messing up your salad.
8\. Any crunchy ingredients like toasted nuts, seeds or croutons should be served over individual bowls, so they retain their crunch. This also means they do not get designated to the bottom of the bowl, floating in a small pool of dressing. The same applies to cheese, which is best crumbled over individual bowls.
9\. To prepare ahead or not is the question I’m always asked. Hearty salads that use grains like barley or couscous are best prepared ahead, and mixed along with the dressing, so that the grains can absorb the dressing over an hour or so. More delicate salads are best tossed with the dressing just before serving or they can get very soggy.
10\. Salad dressings can be prepared in larger batches and stored in airtight jars in the refrigerator. Do avoid using fresh ingredients like garlic or fresh herbs in dressings that you plan to store. The oil and vinegar layer tend to separate out in the fridge, but that’s nothing to worry about. Just whisk well before you use it.
Check out over 25 Salad Recipes on Saffrontrail.com
You can also watch my videos that will guide you on how to make salad dressings and some of my favourite salads.