Sweet and Sour
Sweetened Condensed Milk
The earliest salads were probably limited to freshly picked leaves and herbs until the Romans introduced the concept of an oil-and-vinegar salad dressing. By the 18th century Europeans were adding other ingredients, such as vegetables and cooked poultry, to salads for a more formal presentation. Historically, in America, salads were summer fare made from locally grown lettuce and vegetables. With the development in the 1920's of a variety of lettuce that could be shipped long distances (iceberg lettuce), salads began to appear at other times.
Today the term salad refers to
a diverse assortment of dishes. Salads may contain lettuce, vegetables,
fruits, grains, pasta, cheeses, meats, seafood or poultry. They may be
tossed together, artistically arranged, or added to gelatin mixtures and
molded. They are served chilled, at room temperature or warm. Salads are
often served as a first course to stimulate the appetite, as an accompaniment
to an entrée or following the entrée to perk up the taste
buds. A main-dish salad, containing meat, poultry or seafood, can be the
star of the meal.
Tips for Making Salads
- To make salads of leafy greens, choose ingredients that provide a good contrast in flavors, colors and textures. Strong-flavored ingredients should be used in small quantities. Otherwise they will overpower milder greens.
- Dry greens thoroughly before dressing them to prevent diluting the salad dressing. In addition, dressing will not cling to wet greens.
- To keep salad greens crisp, toss them with dressing just before serving. Too much dressing will make delicate lettuces soggy and will overpower mild-flavored ingredients.
- Salad greens and raw vegetables are best served very cold to ensure crispness. Serving green salads on chilled plates will help keep them crisp.
- Potato salad should be made with new potatoes or long whites, round whites or round reds. Russet potatoes will not hold their shape after cooking. Cook the potatoes with their skins on to retain more of the nutrients. Whether you peel them or not after cooking is a personal preference.
- For pasta salads, boil pasta in lots of water. Noodles and long strands of pasta, such as linguine and fettuccine, should be rinsed of excess starch before they are combined with other ingredients. Use cold water to hasten cooling, if desired.
- Potatoes and pasta can be dressed with either a vinaigrette-type dressing or a creamy mayonnaise-type dressing. Add a vinaigrette dressing to hot potatoes and pasta if you want them to absorb more dressing for added flavor. Cool the mixture before adding other vegetables or herbs. Mayonnaise should be combined with room temperature ingredients to prevent the mayonnaise from separating. Chilling salads for several hours will also allow them to develop flavor, but serve them cool, not cold, for more flavor.
- Meat and poultry salads can be made from leftovers. If the meat or poultry is dry, marinate it in the vinaigrette for an hour or two.
- To make a tossed salad ahead, place the firm vegetables and meat or poultry in the bottom of the salad bowl and add the salad dressing. Top with the salad greens but do not toss. Refrigerate this mixture for up to two hours. Toss the salad just before serving.