WHAT IS A SALAD?
The answer to this question is quite simple. Some of the definitions which best describe a SALAD are:
- A dish of raw leafy green vegetables is often tossed with pieces of other raw or cooked vegetables, fruit, cheese, or other ingredients and served with a dressing.
- A cold dish of chopped vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs, or other food, usually prepared with a dressing, such as mayonnaise.
- Food mixtures are either arranged on a plate or tossed and served with a moist dressing; usually consisting of or including greens.
- A salad is a food served with dressing. The food can be a cold dish, or green vegetables or a mixture of fruits, or a hot mixture of hot piquant food, or a frozen mixture of bland fruits, or chopped food in hot aspic, coleslaw potato, or meat. (Theory of cookery)
In general, salads are cold preparations made from raw, cooked, or blanched vegetables, singly or in combination, and can include other items such as fresh herbs, fruits, nuts and cooked eggs, pasta, rice, fish, meat, and poultry.
A SALAD CAN BE SERVED IN VARIOUS DIFFERENT COURSES, SUCH AS:
SALAD COURSE: In a very formal meal experience, salads are sometimes served after the main course. Such salads are light and refreshing in nature and provide a change from the heavy main course. Well-dressed salad greens and savoury vegetables are a popular choice.
MAIN COURSE: It is also substantial enough as a main dish. One of the bodybuilding foods such as meat, fish, egg, or cheese forms the base. The volume and richness of these salads are adequate to satisfy a normal appetite.
ACCOMPANIMENTS: The salad is also served as an accompaniment with the main course.
A SALAD CAN BE OF TWO TYPES:
SIMPLE OR PLAIN SALAD
These salads can be further subdivided in green salad or salad in season, which is served raw or cooked. Such salads normally use only a single kind of vegetable as a base and only one or two ingredients in small quantity as decoration or garnish.
Some examples of such salads with appropriate dressing are:
Vinaigrette / Mustard Cream
Roundels Of Cucumber
Slices Of Tomato With Chopped Parsley
Roudles Or Diced Cooked Beetroot
Compound salads are more elaborate salads that consist of more than one ingredient. Such salads can be further subdivided into four major groups:
- FISH BASED
- VEGETABLE BASED
- POULTRY, GAME, OR MEAT BASED
- FRUIT BASED.
A SALAD CAN BE SUBDIVIDED IN FOUR MAJOR PARTS:
The base may be made up of lettuce, cabbage, or any other leafy vegetables. It must cover the bottom part of the salad. The leaves must be clean and thoroughly washed because they can contain a lot of soil and insects. Preferably all the salads leaves must be washed with a chlorine solution.
SOME OF THE SALAD LEAVES USED IN MAKING OF A SALAD ARE:
ARUGULA: With its peppery and slightly bitter flavour, arugula is a terrific green to be used in a salad. It can be gently braised, too.
BELGIAN ENDIVE: These crunchy, slightly bitter leaves are often used to make hors d’oeuvres, but they can also be chopped and added to salads, or braised to make an exquisite salad.
CRESS: This is a peppery green that’s great in salads, sandwiches, and soups. It’s attractive enough to make a good garnish as well. There are several varieties, including watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress. Cress is highly perishable, so try to use it as soon as possible after you buy it.
CURLY ENDIVE: This crisp, bitter green leaf can be used in salads or cook it as a side dish. The outer leaves are green and somewhat bitter; the pale inner leaves are more tender and mild.
ICEBERG: This is prized for its crispness and longevity in the refrigerator, but it’s a bit short on flavor and nutrients. It’s one of the most readily available lettuces in India and is mostly used by a number of hotels to prepare salads.
LOLLO ROSSO: This mild, tender lettuce has ruffled red edges.
RADICCHIO: With its beautiful colouring and slightly bitter flavour, radicchio is wonderful when combined with other salad greens.
ROMAINE LETTUCE: Romaine combines good flavour and crunch, plus it has a decent shelf life in the refrigerator. It’s the preferred green for Caesar salad. Green romaine is the most common variety, but you can sometimes find red romaine, which is tender.
RED SANGRIA LETTUCE: Thick rose blushed leaves over a blanched pale yellow heart make for attractive lettuce.
BELGIAN ENDIVE: These crunchy, slightly bitter leaves are often used to make hors d’oeuvres, but they can also be chopped and added to salads, or braised to make an exquisite (and expensive) side dish. Select heads with yellow tips; those with green tips are more bitter. Their peak season in the late fall and winter.
BIBB LETTUCE This butterhead lettuce has delicate, loose leaves and lots of flavour. The only downside is that it’s usually expensive
MIZUNA OR SPIDER MUSTARD Mizuna has tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavour.
RED MUSTARD: This has a pungent, peppery flavour that adds zip to salads.
DANDELIONS: Dandelions have a somewhat bitter flavour, which Europeans appreciate more than Americans. Older dandelion greens should be cooked; younger ones can be cooked or served raw as a salad green. They’re available year-round, but they’re best in the spring.
The body comprises of the main ingredient of the salad. It must be proportional to the base. The body must comprise of small bite size pieces of the ingredients. The ingredients used should have a balance of flavours and taste.
The main purpose of a garnish is to add a eye appeal to the finished product. But a certain number of times it can also be added to improve the taste of the salad. Can be either a part of the body also. It should be kept simple.
A Dressing is served with all salads, it is used to flavour the salad provides food value, and improves palatability and appearance. The dressing may be in liquid or semi-liquid form. It can be made with a variety of ingredients ranging from oil-vinegar, cream, yogurt, egg, and cheese.
Various oil used for making a dressing are:
- OLIVE OIL
- WALNUT OIL
- SALAD OIL
- GROUNDNUT OIL
- SESAME OIL
- GRAPESEED OIL
- HAZELNUT OIL
Various vinegar used for making a dressing are:
- TARRAGON VINEGAR
- BALSAMIC VINEGAR
- RED WINE VINEGAR
- WHITE WINE VINEGAR
- MALT VINEGAR
- SHERRY VINEGAR
- RASPBERRY VINEGAR
- CIDER VINEGAR
SOME COMMONLY USED DRESSINGS ARE:
Sauce Louis – Mayonnaise and heavy cream combined with chopped green pepper and green onion seasoned with chili sauce and Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice.
- Blue cheese dressing – Creamy dressing containing crumbled blue cheese.
- Roquefort dressing – Vinaigrette containing crumbled Roquefort or blue cheese.
- French dressing- Three parts Oil and one part vinegar with mustard and garlic.
- English dressing- one part of the oil and two-part vinegar, English mustard, and seasoning.
- American vinaigrette- equal quantities of vinegar and oil, mustard and seasoning.
- Lorenzo dressing – Vinaigrette with chili sauce and chopped watercress.
- Anchovy dressing – Vinaigrette and mashed anchovies.
- Italian dressing – Vinaigrette with garlic and herbs: oregano and basil and dill.
- Half-and-half dressing – Half mayonnaise and half vinaigrette seasoned with minced garlic and mashed anchovies and grated Parmesan cheese; especially good for combination salads.
- Mayonnaise – Egg yolks and oil and vinegar.
- Russian dressing – Mayonnaise with horseradish grated onion and chili sauce or catsup; sometimes with caviar added.
- Salad cream – A Creamy salad dressing resembling mayonnaise.
- Thousand Island dressing – Mayonnaise with chili sauce or tomato ketchup and minced olives and peppers and hard-cooked egg.
- Acidulated cream: Three-part of thin cream to one part of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.