A Pep-Talk for Wilted Saladmakers
Why is it that some salads bring forth “OOOHs” and “AHHHs,” while other can't seem to elicit muchmore than a “ZZZZZ...”???
Attention to certain little preparation details can really make the difference(s) between salad A. and salad B. Try to cultivate all or some of the following habits, and your salads will become increasingly wonderful.
(1) (a MUST) – Always wash your greens thoroughly, leaf by leaf, in cold water. Dry them equally thoroughly. (The single most important gadget-for-salads you can own is a lettuce spinner.)
After drying the leaves, chill them until use.
(2) Become a marinater of things. Keep a jar of vinaigrette dressing on hand (see last week's CSA recipe for Garlic & Herb Vinaigrette), and house your left-over cooked beans (especially garbanzos) in there. Try marinating sliced raw mushrooms in salad dressing. If you have leftover steamed vegetables, and they are in reasonably good spirits, marinate these in vinaigrette (or in any dressing of your choice). Add marinated thing to green salads just before tossing.
(3) Keep pots of fresh herbs on your windowsill (or keep them growing in a garden spot near your kitchen door, if possible). Especially: chives, parsley, basil, thyme. Just snip fresh herbs into your salads, with scissors.
(4) Oil-rule-of-thumb: When in doubt, use olive oil. Of course, this presupposes that you have some on hand. Nine out of ten Earnest Saladmakers have olive oil on their shelves at all times (even when they have nothing else in the house). ← This, according to the latest poll of Earnest Saladmakers.
(5) Get a good knife with a straight-edged blade, and keep it sharp, thus enabling yourself to cut sublimely-thin slices of anything (like radishes!).
(6) When using garlic (or garlic whistles): FRESH only!
(7) Greens should always be dressed only at the very last minute! (otherwise, sogginess.)
(8) Don't forget the charms of: toasted cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, thin slices of tart apple, grated parsnips (a sweet surprise,) marinated tofu, grated cheese, finely-chopped hardcooked egg …and whatever else you find charming.
Slightly modified from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen