Standards for a Good Salad
Standards for a Good Salad
The following are the ideal qualities of a salad:
1. The salad must be chosen to balance the flavor of other dishes with which it is served. A light salad, such as tossed green vegetables with French dressing, goes well with a heavy main dish such as steak.
2. Ingredients must be distinct and neatly cut, not messy in appearance nor mushy in texture.
3. Colors must be well combined to avoid being dull and monotonous, but not over decorated. Carrots, raisins, lettuce leaves, and potatoes make a pleasing color combination.
4. There must be variation in texture. The smooth texture of diced boiled potatoes can be made more interesting when bits of celery or chopped nuts are added. Texture adds interest and enjoyment as varied sensations appeal to the palate during the meal.
5. Flavor must be well balanced, zestful or piquant, and not too strong nor bland.
6. The dressing must complement the body and flavor of the salad. For example, French dressing goes well with green vegetables.
7. Ingredients must be of high quality. Overripe fruits, wilted vegetables with traces of insect infestation, or rancid dressings do not make good salads.
Techniques in Salad Preparation
The following are suggested techniques in salad preparation:
1. Choose the salad to be prepared according to intended use. As an appetizer, a salad should be light and appealing. As a main dish, it should have a pleasing combination of protein items such as chicken, meat, fish or shellfish, and vegetables.
2. Use the proper tools in salad preparation. These include sharp knives, chopping boards, measuring equipment, and the like.
3. Set a high standard of specification for salad ingredients. For example, there is a big difference between salad tomatoes and cooking tomatoes. Whereas salad tomatoes need to be firm and ripe, without any skin defects or blemishes, cooking tomatoes need not have these characteristics to serve their purpose.
4. Wash ingredients thoroughly. Dry leaves with clean cloth or paper towels, or arrange on a colander to remove excess water. Drops of water clinging to vegetable leaves or syrup from improperly drained canned fruits will dilute the dressing and reduce the flavor of the salad. This will also break the emulsion (as in mayonnaise, for example), making the salad watery.
5. Cut up ingredients in uniform sizes. Make each ingredient identifiable or distinct from the others.
6. Measure ingredients accurately to control the quality and number of portions.
7. Chill salads that are intended to be served cold for at least two hours before service. For greens, add the dressing just before service to avoid wilting.
8. Arrange salads neatly on appropriate containers. Garnish but do not overdecorate by using too many varied colors and shapes. Simple, natural arrangements are always appetizing.
9. To improve texture, items such as croutons, nuts, or crisp vegetables may be used.
10. Be sure to prepare salads under clean and sanitary conditions because most salads are served raw, and there is no other means of killing bacteria that may be present in the food or that may have been introduced during the preparation.