Salads refer to a whole category of dishes that most often include raw vegetables, but can also include cold, cooked vegetables, grains and pasta, cold meat or fish, fruit, and even warmed vegetables or meats.
Though the prototypical salad is a light appetizer or side, a dinner salad can serve as a complete meal. Don't miss the dressing, that's what brings the whole salad together. Most commonly dressings are vinaigrettes. Vinaigrettes are an emulsion of oils and vinegar but can be changed up with flavors from herbs and spices.
Salads can be complex and vexing for most chefs who write menus. In America, the salad starts the meal and as a chef, I want my first impression to be a good one. In Europe, a salad ends the meal and the last impression should also be a good one. A salad can be exciting and palate stimulating. I urge all home cooks to rethink their salads. This can be a make-or-break course and can become the course that everyone looks forward to.
6 different types of salads:
- Green salads are salads consisting mainly of leaves and vinaigrette.
- Vegetable salads are made of vegetables and some or no leaves.
- Bound salad consists of ingredients held together by a thick dressing such as aioli (mayonnaise).
- Main course salads are also called entrée salads and often include a protein such as beef, fish or chicken and for vegetarians, tofu or seitan.
- Fruit salads are made of one or several different fruits.
- Dessert salads rarely contain leaves and are often sweet and can contain fruit purees, jellies and whipped cream.
Chef’s hint for vinaigrettes:
Salt your vinaigrette before adding the oil. Once the oil has been added, the salt will not dissolve and your salad will not be evenly seasoned.
Try these new salad recipes this Fall and Winter with flavorful salad dressing recipes that will make everyone scream for salad.
Make-your-own-salad bars have sprouted up almost everywhere and introduced the idea that almost anything goes when creating a salad. Vibrant fresh produce doesn’t always come to mind during the winter months. However, surprisingly enough there are amazing seasonal winter produce that can be combined to create crisp, fresh, crowd-pleasing salads.