It’s not just about the vinaigrette
Eight rules for a good salad
Anyone who thinks salad is boring underestimates what a fresh vegetable can do. It’s not just the vinaigrette, it’s the variety of the dish that counts.
If you think that a good salad is packaged, pre-washed, ready-to-eat from a tube and plucking lettuce leaves in a plastic bag, it’s absurd. This is not a salad. First of all, this is not a good salad. We reveal the secret to our eight salad dressing rules.
Rule #1: Choose a container
Use a large bowl to prepare the salad. It’s no use to anyone if half of the salad leaves end up on the kitchen table or floor when you mix them. The container should be at least 25 percent larger than the contents of the final salad.
Rule #2: Work with the vinaigrette
Never drench lettuce in vinaigrette. The green leaves should be crisp and shiny, not heavy and mushy in the dressing.
Rule #3: choose a salad
Iceberg salad is not a salad. Sure, it’s in the lettuce family, but it doesn’t come close to radicchio, endive, or chicory in terms of flavor. Feel free to combine mild salads like lettuce or lollo with strong, spicy options.
Rule #4: Salt is key
If you are worried about cabbage, for example, red or white cabbage, becoming crunchy in a salad, salt the vegetables heavily and give the cabbage time to soften.
Rule #5: Texture and Taste
Add different textures to your salad: Is the lettuce soft? Then add something crunchy: how about crunchy cereal or toasted nuts? Quinoa, rice or lentils? There are no limits when it comes to salads. Is your salad spicy? Add a sweet or fruity note: orange or grapefruit fillets to create contrast. A cheese like feta or grated parmesan adds creaminess.
Rule #6: Dress up
In the past, one-third of oil was acid. Today’s chefs prefer a lighter version: two parts fat to one part acid. Try the following options:
- Yogurt + Lime Juice + Harissa Paste
- Mayonnaise + Rice Vinegar + Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste) + Garlic
- Olive oil + apple cider vinegar + maple syrup
- Rapeseed oil + rice vinegar + miso paste + ground ginger
Experiment with different oils (linseed oil, walnut oil, olive oil) as well as different vinegars (balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar). Always try to find out what you like best. You can also use mustard instead of miso paste or gochujang. Just follow the rule of thumb: two parts acid to one part oil.
Rule #7: Water drop
Every good garment needs a drop of water, so don’t panic the first time you taste vinegar.
Rule #8: Serve Right
Place the vegetables in the bowl first, then the filling on top of them. Then mix the salad with your hands (!). Lettuce tongs can damage tender leaves. Only then add light and small ingredients to the salad, such as nuts and grains, as well as ingredients that quickly turn mushy, such as avocados or tomatoes. Finally, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top. Just be careful, get dressed and bury the lettuce.