Tuesday, February 17, 2009

kitchen tip Tuesday...salad secrets…

”It takes four men to dress a salad:
a wise man for the salt,
a madman for the pepper,
a miser for the vinegar,
and a spendthrift for the oil.”
~ unknown

Because I was looking forward to warmer weather and daily meals of salads with local fresh ingredients, I started re-reading the salad recipe section ofthe book that I won back in December from Culinary Cory, Cooking School Secrets for the Real World by Linda Carucci. This book is filled with not only beautiful and delicious recipes, but the content that I enjoy the most are the secrets and special tips that can turn a simple recipe in to something fabulous.

I wanted to pass on to all of you some of the tips from this wonderful book, today we will talks salads. Here are some of Ms. Carucci’s "Secrets for successful salads”.

Peel the rounded side of the outer stalks of celery before slicing. Then slice the stalks on the diagonal. You will remove the strings that get caught in your teeth and the celery will have a more delicate flavor, but retains the sweet crunch.

The secret to keeping white cheese white in salads is to make a salad dressing with white wine, champagne, white balsamic vinegars or citrus juice. This dressing won’t stain the cheese brown the way red wine vinegars do, and your plating and presentation of your salad will be much
more appetizing and appealing.

red onions
Slice red onions very thin with a Mandoline or your sharpest and thinnest knife.
The soak the slices in ice cold water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and pat dry before adding to the salad. The cold water leaches out the harsh sulfur flavor and also crisps the onion.

Among another of its legendary attributes, the unique shape of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt crystals helps lettuce from wilting in a salad. Other Kosher salts cannot claim this virtue.

salad dressing
This tip was so utterly simple that solved a question that has haunted me for years…
How do you know how much salad dressing to use?
The secret:

clean hands…!

Toss the salad greens with just enough dressing to coat them lightly using your hands gives you the feel for how well the dressing coats the salad. This way there is no pool of dressing in the bottom of the bowl to wilt the salad and overwhelm the ingredients.
Once the greens are lightly coated, add the remaining ingredients.

To preserve the delicate texture of fresh tomatoes, store in a cool place in the kitchen...but never, ever in the refrigerator.

I hope that these simple tips will help you to prepare your salads in a way to help your wonderful, fresh ingredients sing in harmony.
In the next post, I will share my newest favorite ingredient in the salad world and a few healthful but tasty recipes for you to try while we are awaiting the first days of spring.


Anonymous said...

Chere Therese-Marie!
Now, I understand why you are so keen on vegetarian food!
I'll keep this in mind in the future as I always try to find something for my Vegetarian friends!
Bien amicalement,

Anonymous said...

Bonjour chérie,
J'adore toutes les salades. Donc, je te remercie pour cette merveilleuse poste. Malheureusement, trop souvent en France, des restaurateurs ont une manie de trop saucé leurs salades.

Excellent tip for the onions!
Je t’embrasse très fort. Dedene

chez aurora said...

Bonjour Terrie :)
Wow, what an amazing post, your photos are absolutely stunning! Each one is a treasure! Your salad looks mouthwateringly fresh and delicious...the only thing we could wish for is a fork to indulge in it! That tomato is probably the most perfect one I've ever seen ... And I'm curious what type of cheese that is ... ?

Thanks so much for the tips, I'll remember the one about the Diamond crystal !

Bonne journée et bisous

Peter said...

So simple an nice! Well, simple... the decoration part is something which may take some time and I would hardly do it when I prepare for just myself! You should never eat alone!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci mille fois Robert-Giles for your kind comment...
I am not a vegetarian by any means but I try to limit my animal-fish based protein intake to 2 or 3 times a week and red meat to once every 4 months or less.
I just feel so much better when I eat mostly veggies.

Salut chêre Dedene...
yes it is hard to eat salads that are not overly dressed with sauce in restos in France. Here in the USA I can order dressing on the side...they rarely will comply in France.
I glad you liked the tip on the onions, I adore them but hate the sulfur after tastse...this tip help me enjoy them once again.
Merci for your always kind comment and visit.

Chêre Barabara...merci beaucoup for your very nice compliments...
you make me blush.
The cheese is a Morbier Au Lait Cru 45% that a friend smuggled in from France as it is unpasturized, and naturally yummy...
The salt tip came by accident..see my blog post on Jan 1, 2009...
diamonds are a cooks best friend for a bit more info on salts:
As always I appreciate your visits very much.

Cher Peter...Merci for your visit...
But I totally disagree...
Since I live alone in the forest, I often dine alone...

But dining alone is not a sad and poignant affair as some may think.
It could and should often be a joyous occasion an event, with beautifully prepared
and plated food for your eye and your palate...

Because I am so worth it...and so are you if you dine solo...! ! !

Phil Lowe said...

I also never put tomatoes in the fridge. They taste so much better walmed by the air. When I was a small boy my neigbour, Mr Disney, used to invite into his greenhouse where he grew the lovliest smelling tomatoes and whenever I smell such beautiful fruits I am always reminded of the lovely old man and his ripe toms and spring onions which we used to dip in salt back in the days of my childhood.

Culinary Cory said...

Great tips. I agree with the clean hands comment. It's the only way to really know you've added enough dressing.

A Brush with Color said...

That really IS the best way not to overdress the salad. I love the way a salad tastes when you just get the flavor of a dressing but it's not soggy. Gorgeous photos to illustrate your tips here, too, Terrie, as always!