Clockwise from top: A terrible salad, some alright salads.
One of these salads was served to me in a gastropub for £12.95. In the pub’s defense, they took it away and gave me a free alternative. Not in their defense, it looked fucking terrible and tasted wet; this is not how to do a salad.
The other two were made by me. One of them was made by me while I was drunk and hungry, in fact. And they look and tasted better. So I figure maybe it’s time to school the world on HOW THE FUCK YOU MAKE A SALAD.
CUT UP SOME FUCKING GREEN THINGS usually. There are salads without but let’s assume you’re making a bowl of it. Crispy lettuce is nice- I think the terrible salad is made of romaine lettuce hearts that have just been pulled off the stalk and washed- BE VERY SELECTIVE ABOUT THIS unless you are very carefully arranging it, you better chop those leaves up or else how am I meant to eat it with one hand and a fork like a woman laughing alone?
The second salad uses watercress as its green thing. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD if you’re using watercress pull the stalks apart so you don’t end up with neverending greenery hanging out of your and/or your guests’ mouths.
OTHER THINGS. You can put anything you like in a salad! Don’t go over-mental but why not try some passionfruit seeds, to go with spicy chicken or tofu? Or a few olives? Put some tomatoes in. A salad is a mix of things! I think the second two both have thinly sliced radishes in, for a nice crisp taste- try to have different textures and a range of sweet
Some things won’t totally go together the first time you try them; that’s ok. Just put some other element other than fat old leaves of romaine lettuce and barely defrosted crayfish in it.
PUT IT TOGETHER SO IT DOESN’T LOOK TERRIBLE. Seriously this is not ‘throwing it all around with some salad forks and putting in a bowl, unless it’s at a fucking barbecue. ARRANGE IT ON THE PLATE it looks much better and takes all of 30 seconds. This is especially applicable if you are a gastropub looking to charge £12.95 for this salad.
Add dressing. Maybe check with your guests first because some people prefer things undressed but also it’s your recipe so fuck ‘em. You can use things other than just plain ol’ olive oil and vinegar; sesame oil can be very nice with poultry or beef, truffle oil goes well with mushrooms, beetroot and deep game-y flavours (pigeon salads are all the rage for yr gastrochef currently) if you’re absolutely loaded (otherwise some garlic-infused oil, for the rest of us) and groundnut oil goes well with tangy flavours such as rocket. Balsamic vinegar is sweet, rice vinegar is tangy, lime juice is fresh and dry- add some pepper, add some of the juices from cooking any bit of the salad you’ve cooked, add sesame seeds or poppyseeds, add chopped chives or coriander or salad mustard (cress) -adding a little mustard and honey to your oil or vinegar is a good way to further spice up the dressing. Add flakes of cheese if you like, I don’t fucking care. Just don’t pour on a big bottle of something so gloopy it will drown; dressing should compliment the ingredients, not smother them. Yes, I know, I also want a whole bottle of ranch dressing but like, get yourself some breadsticks and dip it, dude.
A NOTE ON DRESSING: if you are serving meat or fish, you don’thaaaaveto toss them in the dressing separately but if it’s something thick then it’s a good idea. Otherwise just drizzle it the fuck on.
Eat it. Yeah.