It’s not just about the vinaigrette
Eight rules for a good salad
Anyone who thinks salad is boring underestimates what fresh vegetables can do. It’s not just the vinaigrette that counts, but the variety in the bowl.
An absurdity if you think that a good salad is packaged, already washed and plucked lettuce leaves in a plastic bag with ready-made dressing from the tube. This is not a salad. First of all, this is not a good salad. We find out where the secret lies in our eight imposed salad rules.
Rule number 1: bowl selection
Use a large bowl to prepare your salad. Nobody benefits if half the salad leaves fall on the kitchen counter or floor when you mix them. The bowl should be at least 25 percent larger than the final contents of the salad.
Rule number 2: Handling the vinaigrette
Never drown lettuce in vinaigrette. The green leaves should be crispy and shiny, not weighed down by the weight of the dressing and not smooth.
Rule number 3: Choice of salad
Iceberg lettuce is not a lettuce. Of course, it belongs to the salad family, but in terms of taste, it is not even close to radicchio, endive or chicory. Feel free to combine soft salads such as lettuce or lollo with strong and bitter-tasting varieties.
Rule number 4: salt is key
Anyone worried about cabbage, like red or white cabbage, being too crunchy in a salad, over-salt the vegetables and give the cabbage time to soften.
Rule number 5: texture and taste
Add a variety of textures to your salad: Are the lettuce leaves soft? Then add something crunchy: how about crunchy grains or roasted nuts? Quinoa, rice or lentils? When it comes to salads, there are no limits. Is your salad bitter enough? Add a sweet or fruity note: orange or grapefruit slices to create a contrast. Cheese like feta or grated Parmesan add creaminess.
Rule number 6: Dress
It used to be three parts fat to one part acid. Today’s cooks prefer the lighter version: two parts fat to one part acid. Try the following variants:
- Yogurt + Lime Juice + Harissa Paste
- Mayonnaise + rice vinegar + Gochujang (Korean chili paste) + garlic
- Olive oil + apple cider vinegar + maple syrup
- Canola oil + rice vinegar + miso paste + grated ginger
Experiment with different oils (linseed oil, walnut oil, olive oil), but also with different vinegars (balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar). Find out what you like best by trying again and again. You can also use mustard instead of miso paste or gochujang. Just follow the rule: two parts fat to one part acid.
Rule number 7: Water point
Every good dressing needs a drop of water so you don’t cringe the first time you taste vinegar.
Rule number 8: Proper service
In the bowl, add the greens first and then the dressing on top of them. Then mix the salad with your hands (!). A pair of salad tongs would damage the delicate leaves. Only then light and small ingredients such as nuts, grains, but also ingredients that quickly become soft, such as avocados or tomatoes, enter the salad. At the end, you can pour the rest of the vinaigrette over it. Just be careful not to overpower the dressing and bury the lettuce leaves.