We Do Salad Wrong

Sal once said to me, “Ugh, fruit salad is where fruit goes to die.”

She was right.

Same goes for regular salad. Oversize pieces of some tasteless vegetable drowning in vinaigrette — pushed to the side of your plate, waiting to die.

Proper salad can and should be on every menu and in everyone’s swag of recipes. It takes a few goes to tune it but here are the fundamentals:

00. Before I talk about ingredients I need to be clear about one thing. Salad is made or broken by the size and shape of the things you put in it. EVERY element of a good salad needs to go through the filter of:

“Is this the size of something I actually want to put in my mouth”

The answer is usually no. A single piece of baby spinach is too big. A medallion of cucumber is too big. A wedge of tomato is too big. Basically, if you can’t fit whatever it is through a ring you’d wear on your pinky, it’s too big.

Buy a good knife:

And a mandolin:

Think before you chop. Its all downhill from here.

Get a big bowl, throw it all in, mix it up every time you add a new ingredient.

01. One Pulse or Grain (half a cup/person)

Freekah, Pearl Barley, Ptitm, Bulgar, Chick Peas, Lentils, Borlotti Beans etc.

02. Nuts and Seeds (toasted - half a cup/person - don’t be stingy with these)

Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Macadamias, Pine Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, White/Black Sesame Seeds etc.

03a. Two to Four Vegetables (mandolin or chop EVERYTHING - play with the combinations)

Mandolin - Carrot, Zucchini, Radish, Cucumber etc.

Chop Raw - All Greens, Nuts, Tomato, Cabbage, Beans etc.

Chop and Fry in Good Butter - Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Corn, Asparagus Brussel Sprouts etc.

03b. One fruit (only do it if you’re totally confident it will add value)

Apple (mandolin-ed), Grapes, Pomegranate, Peach, Fried Lemon Rind

04. Herbs (fresh - two fist fulls finely chopped)

Just get whatever is seasonal or you think will boost all the other ingredients.

05. Fried Shallots, Caramelised Brown Onion, or a little bit of super finely chopped Red Onion

06. One Dried Fruit (about a cup)

Currants, Dried Figs, Dried Apricots, Craisins etc.

07. Dressing

Olive Oil - To lightly coat everything but not so much it pools in the bowl

Apple Cider Vinegar - Go easy and let it soak in for a few minutes.

Salt + Pepper - Obviously

If you’ve done it right, you should be able to get a bit of everything on a fork in one scoop. Now go impress people with your new salad game.