The Artful Touch of Salad Making

In order to truly enjoy a salad, it needs to be delicious. Eating healthy can be incredibly unsatisfying. Sometimes, when you order a salad at a restaurant, you receive a half-head of iceberg lettuce and some tomatoes. This is only acceptable when marketed as a Wedge Salad and topped with bacon. 

Making salads at home should be your go-to for salad-eating. The combinations are endless, and if you dislike an ingredient, simply switch that out for something you do like. That is the beauty of cooking. If you don’t like something, you change it.  

We all know the saying:  

“You eat with your eyes first!” 

My feelings on salad are simple; I am a firm believer in making your dishes look as good as they taste. A lot of time and effort goes into making the food presentation look appetizing. I want gasps when I bring out my huge bowl of salad to my dinner party. And since salad can be unfulfilling, you want it to look stunning before guests even take a bite. 

I like food that is dramatic. I want people to remember not only how delicious the food was, but how beautiful the dish was on the plate. When plating, begin with a white ceramic bowl big enough to fit your salad. I prefer white because it allows the vibrancy of the fruits and vegetables to stand out. Again, drama.  

Take whichever salad green you are using, if you are using one. Lettuce is not always completely necessary for salad, contrary to popular belief. My personal preference is to mix chopped romaine with arugula. I like the peppery bite that arugula gives, and my husband likes the crunch and mildness of romaine. For us its a perfect mix, but use whatever greens you like. Lay out your greens in a single layer at the bottom of your salad bowl, as a bed for your vegetables. Do this loosely, so your greens look natural and not smashed down. 

Next, prepare whichever ingredients you like in your salad. Recently, I have made a variation of Niçoise Salad and topped my greens with soft-yolk eggs, haricot verts, baby tomatoes, boiled Yukon gold potatoes, and pan-roasted salmon. I have also been playing with variations of caprese, including Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, roasted chicken, and avocados. An all-time favorite salad of mine is a BLT salad, with the addition of soft-yolk eggs. 

No matter which salad you choose to make, I like to start by putting blocks of color together. I take my salad bowl with the greens laid out, and begin with putting all the tomatoes in one isolated spot. You want to keep the red of the tomatoes in one place on the plate. Then, take another ingredient, such as eggs, and slice them into four quarters. Keep them together in another block of color next to the tomatoes. Do this with all your ingredients until most of the lettuce underneath is covered. Do not forget to salt and pepper your salad once all your fruits and veggies are laid out on top. Dress your salad lightly. 

Present your salad with your beautiful blocks of color and watch the gasps from your guests! Only toss the ingredients together when serving and top with more dressing as needed.