Salads come in many different forms and can be served in many ways. A salad makes a great light starter or an accompaniment to a main meal. Salads can also be a meal in themselves when they contain a variety of substantial ingredients as well as leafy greens.
How to Store Salads
Most salad greens store well if they are washed and a little water is left on the leaves. Wrap greens loosely in a damp cloth and refrigerate. Store them in the vegetable crisper or a cool part of the refrigerator, not the coldest part of the refrigerator. Salad greens have a high water content and therefore are not suitable for freezing.
How to Prepare Salads
Remove any wilted or damaged outer leaves. Remove leaves individually and trim stems if necessary. Wash under cold running water or soak in cold water for a few minutes. To refresh wilted leaves, place them in a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes.
Varieties of Salads
Salad greens are available in an extensive range, including baby or young vegetable leaves and Asian varieties. Different salad greens have different flavors that complement and combine with many foods to make a great accompaniment. Rocket (arugula) has a definite peppery taste with an intensity ranging from mild to hot.
Watercress has a mild peppery taste and wilts quickly, so it needs to be soaked in cold water to refresh. Radicchio has a sharp, bitter flavor that combines well with a strong dressing.
How to select salad ingredients
When selecting lettuce, the leaves should be crisp and tightly layered together, especially towards the center or heart. When selecting soft lettuces such as butter lettuce, the leaves should be soft but crisp with a good, bright green color. When selecting loose salad leaves such as baby English spinach and rocket (arugula), leaves should be crisp and not wilted with a good, dark green color. Stems should be dry and not discolored.
How to serve salads
To ensure salad leaves stay crisp, pour dressing over salad just before serving as dressings that contain vinegar and lemon juice can make the leaves limp and soft.