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How to Season a Salad

How to Season a Salad

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A salad does not need to be a bowl of lettuce. It just needs to provide tonic to duller flavors, to sharpen a meal’s edge, help define where one taste stops and another begins.

Italian salads are often just a single raw or cooked vegetable, sliced thinly and dressed with a drizzle of vinegar and olive oil. In Greece or Israel, salads might be cucumbers and mint, or roasted eggplant, or spiced boiled carrots. There is a delicious Palestinian salad made only of preserved lemons, roughly puréed, and eaten cold with warm pita bread. Elizabeth David suggests, after her lament about her native England’s bad salads, “a dish of long red radishes, cleaned but with a little of the green leaves left on.”

Cold roasted beets, sliced or cubed, drizzled with vinegar, and mixed with toasted nuts and olive oil are a wonderful salad. So is roasted broccoli, tossed with vinegared onions and a light smattering of dried chile. So are green beans, boiled until just cooked, cold and sliced thinly, tossed with peanuts and crisp scallions and rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. So is boiled cauliflower or potatoes, already nicely salted, drizzled with vinegar and oil, with a big handful of chopped olives and capers mixed in. Anything, cooked or raw, cut up a little, mixed firmly with acid, salt, and a little fat, laid carefully on a plate, or spooned nicely into a bowl, is a “salad.”

A salad simply is too wonderful a moment in the meal to waste on assumptions. Because a salad can be made of anything, make one of an ingredient about which you get excited, or of whatever looks most lively, or of whatever you have around already. Do that instead of automatically buying lettuce, or wishing you were happier eating the sallow lettuce you have.

Parsley makes a very good salad. I have seen the humble leaves do a salad’s duties on several occasions. At the wonderful little restaurant Prune, it is served next to two gloriously rich marrowbones and buttered toast. No lettuce on earth is a better-suited foil to that fatty combination.

When friends and I opened a restaurant in Georgia in a summer too hot for lettuce to grow, I decided that if parsley could do what needed doing for bone marrow, it could do it for a hamburger. So I listed “parsley salad” on the menu.

Our general manager made little signs to put on tables that explained that lettuce was a seasonal crop, printed with a solemn, “Why we don’t have lettuce,” but other than a few noisy ones, customers ate their parsley salad unquestioningly. There were even requests for more parsley salad, once the days cooled down and our farm’s young lettuces needed to be picked and served instead.

Other humble ingredients make fine analeptics. Use a vegetable peeler to peel long slices off carrots. Fill a bowl with the carrot ribbons, add a light sprinkle of toasted cumin or coriander, a little vinegar and salt, then dress it with a lot of good olive oil.

Or slice celery thinly on a long diagonal, and, omitting the spices, do the same.

Rich, piquant, rémoulade salads, usually made from celery root, are in season when the ground ices over and the only vegetables available are fibrous roots. If you ever wonder whether all vegetables really can become salads, stop and look at celery root, with its grizzled, warty skin. In France, it’s waited for all year long, itself a reason to look forward to the arrival of shorter days.

Rémoulade, designed to tame cold-season vegetables, could tame cardboard just as easily. If you end up with old, tough green beans, slice them very thinly, and treat them to the same smoothing over. Use rémoulade to make a salad of anything but tender spring and summer vegetables, which it would wilt, leaving the delicious sauce a cold untested puddle.

Adapted from “An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace” Copyright © 2011 by Tamar Adler. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Back to Sensational Salads

Farm salad

This colourful salad contains a plethora of elements that both complement and contrast with one another. Use it as a blueprint to make the most of whatever vegetables are in season, or that you might happen to have fermenting at home.

Will says: ‘This salad is more of a philosophy than a recipe. It changes almost weekly in the height of the season, especially in the summer, when the farm is producing so much, and so quickly. Vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and fruits are harvested within hours of guests dining with us at The Small Holding and are the freshest and best tasting they can possibly be. We preserve, juice and pickle the gluts – not only does this mean zero waste on the farm but it means we are creating brand new ingredients to use in another dish. This all-year-round-waste-nothing style of cooking is encapsulated in this salad which has elements of every season in it.

‘This farm salad was created in May with new season radishes, fresh peas straight from the pod, baby leaves and wild garlic while using last spring’s elderflower vinegar and autumn’s squash. The leaves are fresh and bright the wild garlic sauce and the whipped goats’ cheese adds texture, interest and mouth feel, while the squash and romanesco cauliflower bring acidity and crunch.’

Seasonal Spring Salad recipe

For National Salad Month, Jenny went to Basco Appliances in the Pearl District to check out one salad recipe from an expert in all things nutrition. Rania Batayneh, MPH, author of the One One One Diet, was there to give some guidance on salad preparation.


This salad is colorful, rich in fiber, flavor, and nutrients. It is also plant powered, gluten-free, and vegan.

This salad includes 4 vegetables that are also in season:

· Asparagus- full of antioxidants and can help with bloating.

· Watermelon Radish- Besides being beautiful, they are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are also a good source of calcium. Studies have found that they can aid the body in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

· Snow Peas & Snap Peas- both are high in fiber and full of antioxidants. Sugar snap peas also provide potassium, which is known to reduce blood pressure.


· 6 cups of mixed greens (this is the base of your salad)

· 1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets

· 1 cup of asparagus spears chopped to desired size

· 1 cup of dried cranberries

· 1 large watermelon radish sliced (to decorate salad)

· 1/3 cup of chopped watermelon radish to top on the salad

· 1 large avocado, pitted and cut into cubes of desired size.

You can use a store-bought red wine vinaigrette or make your own. I am adding sumac spice to it. Sumac is a tangy, lemony spice often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It complements the sweetness of the dressing. Dress salad to your own liking.


Combine and toss all ingredients except the avocado and chopped watermelon radish. Once tossed, top salad with avocado and chopped watermelon radish. You can decorate salad with any of the ingredients.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recipe: Michael Smith’s summer salad is a medley of the season’s freshest produce

Smith says this book is an accumulation of more than 30 years of cooking, listening, tasting and learning.

There is an ebb and flow to life on a farm, a comforting regularity that comes from working the land. That same rhythm is part of life at the Inn at Bay Fortune, on the east coast of PEI in Souris, where the chefs and cooks who make the evening feast start each day with chores around the 46-acre property farm.

They might dig up overwintered sunchokes, gather lovage leaves or spruce tips (the rosemary of Prince Edward Island), pick baskets of nasturtium and gin roses, or bring in bushels of organic carrots, beans and beets. No task is too menial and they eagerly pitch in to help with whatever farmer Kevin Petrie asks.

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“It’s our favourite time of the day,” says proprietor and chef Michael Smith, who purchased the inn seven years ago with his wife, Chastity. They have since transformed it into a working farm and the island’s only five-star country inn. “We dive in together. We chat. We laugh and we get the job done. It’s a ritual we all love because it reinforces the connection between the farm and our kitchen, which is the very essence of our cuisine.”

Smith has just written his ninth cookbook, Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune. It’s filled with dishes that are unique to the region including Seared Island Scallops, Oven-Baked Salt-Crusted Halibut, Sunchoke Fries and a Wild Blueberry Maple Grunt. However, it’s also filled with stories about the people in his tight-knit community – the farmers, the fisher folk and the food artisans who all contribute to the unique terroir of the island, with all its wonderful textures and flavours.

“As cooks, we know we are mere intermediaries … we share our producers’ stories through our cooking,” says Smith, whose working farm includes eight fertile acres, multiple herb gardens, five greenhouses and a small orchard (which guests to the inn tour before dinner, often with a Rose Gin Fizz in hand).

Smith says this book is an accumulation of more than 30 years of cooking, listening, tasting and learning. “It’s taken me many years to realize the simple truth that less is more. With the farm, and the ingredients it provides, I’ve found my perfect alchemy.”

Summer Salad

Herb dressing

  • 1 shallot, very finely minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh fennel seeds, lovage pollen, or minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pure liquid honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Lots of freshly ground pepper

Measure all the ingredients into a 2-cup Mason jar. Screw on the lid and shake until the contents emulsify into a smooth dressing. Reserve.

Pickled red onions

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  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 2 or 3 thinly sliced red onions

Measure the red wine vinegar, sugar and pickling spice into a large saucepan. Bring to a full boil over medium-high heat. Gently stir in the red onions. Cover tightly and remove from the heat. Rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to a 2-cup Mason jar, seal and refrigerate overnight. The pickled onions are at their best after a few days of resting and will last up to a month.

Summer salad vegetables

Farm-fresh vegetables, as many varieties as you can harvest and gather, a handful or so of each (2 to 3 pounds/900 g to 1.35 kg when prepped) such as:

  • Tender fresh bean, trimmed
  • Multi-hued, vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
  • Baby squashes, trimmed and halved
  • Baby root vegetables (carrots, turnips, radishes), trimmed and halved
  • Sweet corn, trimmed from cob
  • Fresh peas, shucked
  • Snow peas
  • Snap peas
  • Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • Crisp cucumbers
  • Cucamelons, radish pods and any other obscure varietals you can find
  • Lots of freshly picked aromatic herb leaves, such as commonly available basil, mint, dill, chives, parsley, cilantro and fennel fronds, and exotic specialty varieties such as marigold, anise hyssop, lemon balm, nasturtium, shiso
  • A handful or two of nasturtium, marigold, chive, borage, dill, fennel, arugula, broccoli, violet

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

As you prep the vegetables, sort them into two separate medium bowls: tougher-textured vegetables in one bowl (to blanch), tender vegetables in the second bowl (to be kept raw). Squashes, peas, fennel and cucumbers are better left raw. Tougher string beans, corn and baby carrots or other roots benefit from blanching.

To blanch, briefly plunge the vegetables into the boiling water, swirling gently as they brighten and tenderize, just a minute or so. Immediately drain the vegetables and plunge them into ice water, swirling and cooling them rapidly. Drain well and pat dry. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add the raw vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Drizzle with the herb dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with picked red onions.

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Excerpted from Farm, Fire & Feast: Recipes from the Inn at Bay Fortune by Michael Smith. Copyright © 2021 Michael Smith. Photography by Al Douglas. Published by Penguin Canada®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

45 Best Summer Salads That Fit Perfectly at Any Barbecue

Bring any one of these, and you'll be taking home an empty plate.

Summer is right around the corner, and that means barbecue season! Especially this year, as we'll likely be having as many events as possible outdoors, you'll want to plan to up your outdoor eating (and cooking) game. If you end up hosting an outdoor party this summer, you're going to need to brush up on a few great grilling recipes. But even if you're just attending, you'll still want to bring something.

That's where these delicious summer salads come in. We've rounded up some of the best salads that incorporate flavors of the season, from heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn to juicy peaches, spicy radishes, crispy cukes and more. Whether you're going to a big church picnic or taking a weeknight family dinner outdoors, these ideas are perfect for any occasion.

If you're looking for some dinner salad ideas that will leave you feeling satisfied and full, look to the grilled chicken mango salad, pesto chicken Caprese salad, or the cucumber-salmon panzanella for dishes that are protein-packed. Or, if you need something light to have on the side of a bounteous summer feast, try the grilled Caesar salad or the charred corn salad. If you've been trying to add more healthy dinner ideas into your weekly meal routine, include these salads as part of your dinner repertoire for simple 30-minute meals that are good for you.

Go ahead and celebrate the season of iced tea, alfresco dining, and fresh produce from backyard gardens with these flavorful summer salads that will become your new favorite summer dinner ideas.

Seared Ahi Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing

Absolutely amazing! If you love Seared Ahi Salads and only thought you could get them at a restaurant, then I’m here to prove you wrong. You can easily make this Seared Ahi Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing at home! I love meals that are easy to prepare, but don’t skimp on flavor. This Seared Ahi Salad is one of those meals. I made a quick marinade (that I used for both marinating and the dressing) and let the Ahi marinate for about an hour. The salad came together in a matter of minutes: mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli cole slaw mix, and avocados.

The light dressing, which I also used as the marinade, was full of flavor. A few simple ingredients (all of which I had at home), was as quick to make as the salad. I mean, how can you go wrong with the flavors of fresh ginger, lime, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil? A good pinch of red pepper flakes would even kick it up a notch, although it was delicious as is.

I had thought about grilling the ahi, but it was pouring down rain, so I used my cast iron skillet. I cooked the ahi steaks for about 7 minutes. Being that this was my first time cooking ahi, I was very pleased with how they turned out. A little crusty on the outside, and rare in the middle. In northern CA, where I live, we’ve had a very wet and rainy winter. We’re thankful to be out of the five year drought, but I am done with wet, and so ready for the sunshine. This Seared Ahi Salad will be the perfect “eat outdoors on a warm summer evening” kind of meal.

How To Make the Perfect Simple Salad

  • wheat-free
  • fish-free
  • peanut-free
  • vegetarian
  • shellfish-free
  • pork-free
  • pescatarian
  • gluten-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • soy-free
  • egg-free
  • red-meat-free
  • alcohol-free
  • Calories 70
  • Fat 6.9 g (10.6%)
  • Saturated 1.0 g (4.8%)
  • Carbs 2.3 g (0.8%)
  • Fiber 0.8 g (3.1%)
  • Sugars 0.8 g
  • Protein 0.5 g (1.0%)
  • Sodium 92.1 mg (3.8%)


lettuce or mixed greens, washed, dried, and torn

Finely shredded carrots or julienned cucumbers (optional)

Small handful finely shredded fresh basil, mint or other aromatic herb (optional)

Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, for garnish (optional)



The greens should be completely dry. No matter what kind of greens you use, they should be as dry as possible. If greens aren't dry, they feel weighed down and even a little slimy when the dressing is added. I like to buy bags of mixed salad greens (sure, I could make my own mix, but I don't always have the time or inclination to buy frisee, radicchio, romaine, arugula, and butter lettuce and wash and chop them myself!), but these should be washed too.

The greens should be bite-sized. Really. Make sure the greens are torn into bite-sized bits. I really hate those oversized wedges of lettuce left in restaurant salads you have to cut them up to get them in your mouth! No good.

Put the greens in a really big bowl. This gives you space to dress the salad without splashing or compressing all the air out of what should be a light, fluffy mix of greens.

Add any other vegetables you like (make sure they are dry too). Herbs are extra-good. For a really simple salad, this is where you toss in any little extras. I don't like to over-complicate my side salads or weigh them down with lots of heavy vegetables. But sometimes I add a little carrot or cucumber, finely shredded and blotted dry. Finely shredded herbs are wonderful in salad too I'm partial to mint.

Always dress your salad. Bottles at the table — no. All right. Here's my salad manifesto. I don't believe that salads should ever ever be dressed at the table by the diners. A good salad is not a pile of vegetables with gloppy dressing on top. A good salad has dressing mixed all throughout, and a dressing calibrated to the salad itself. I know some might disagree with this, but I'm positively militant about it! Salad should never come to the party naked.

Most dressings need a touch of sweetness. In salad dressing, sweetness should always be a deliberate part of the equation. Sometimes you deliberately leave it out, balancing the dressing with something funky and strong, like Amanda Hesser's anchovies in her French dressing. But I find that just oil and vinegar lack a little something, unless you are working with really terrific oil and aged balsamic. A half teaspoon of honey or maple syrup won't sweeten the dressing noticeably it will just make it taste more rounded and full.

Taste the dressing first. Always taste the dressing before you pour it on the salad. Adjust if you want a little more acidity or sweetness.

Use far less dressing than you think you need. Here I used all the dressing, but I wish I would have actually used less (and there's only 2 tablespoons of oil here!). You want to lightly dress the salad, not drench it.

Salt and pepper! Now for perhaps the most important part of a well-dressed salad: Salt and pepper. This is what that flaky salt in your cupboard is for.

Add any other mix-ins, such as nuts, cheese, or other dressy things.I like to serve salad in individual bowls and sprinkle any last-minute grace notes like a shaving of Parmesan or some slivered nuts directly on top. This makes them look finished and pretty, and it also is a good way to make sure that these heavy ingredients don't fall immediately to the bottom of the salad. If you don't use any other garnishes, I like to add just a touch more pepper on top.

Recipe Notes

More good mix-ins for a quick salad: Dried fruit, nuts, shaved zucchini or squash, cooked eggplant cubes, all sorts of cheese.

Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes for Summer

Need to bring a dessert to a barbecue and not sure what to make? Want to surprise your family with a special summertime treat? Why not make a homemade fruit salad! They’re easy to prepare and always crowd-pleasing. You can customize the recipe based on your preferred fruit and what is in season. Whether you prefer [&hellip]

6 Pina Colada-Inspired Recipes

One sip of a pina colada and you’re transported to the tropics. Filled with pineapple, coconut, and rum flavor, they’re a summertime staple. Sometimes though, you want to enjoy the flavors of a pina colada without making a cocktail. When those cravings hit, try any of these pina colada-inspired recipes. They’re much less expensive to [&hellip]

10 Kabob Recipes for Summer

Want to make dinnertime more fun this summer? Make kabobs! What’s better than eating a meal on a stick? Chicken, pork, shrimp, and steak, you can use what type of protein your family enjoys. They can even be made vegetarian if you’re trying to come up with a meatless meal. During the summer when we [&hellip]

14 Easy Mother’s Day Recipes

Making Mom breakfast in bed has never been easier! These easy breakfast recipes are beginner-cook friendly, so anyone can make them. As long as you can mix ingredients and turn the oven on, you can make these recipes. Make Mother’s Day the day she deserves by treating her to a delicious breakfast.

27 New Salmon Recipes to Try

Salmon is one of our favorite types of fish. Not only is it a great source of protein, but it’s also high in vitamins, helps regulate hormones, and protects brain health. Delicious, healthy and versatile, we love grilled, air-fried, baked, and sautéed salmon for dinner. Whether it is on top of a salad or served [&hellip]

20 Spring Salad Recipes

Fresh, bright, and bursting with flavor, these springtime salads are healthy and delicious. Using seasonal ingredients, these spring salads are full of asparagus, radishes, peas, avocados, berries, lemon, and mint – making for one tasty side dish or main meal. Who knew we would love salads so much? Get ready to Pinch these spring salads!

Salad Dressing FAQ

To get you started, here are our 25 best salad recipes.

Salad oil is any neutral tasting oil that can be used in salad dressings. Examples include vegetable oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, or sunflower oil.

Try our Vegan Ranch Dressing: it’s made with cashews and spices.

Use a 3 to 1 ratio of oil versus vinegar.

Keto is low carb high fat, which corresponds to all of the Salad Dressing Recipes listed here.

Caesar dressing contains mayonnaise, lemon, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and anchovies. See Caesar Dressing Recipe.

Yes! The exact timing depends on the recipe itself. Most dressing stays in the refrigerator for 1 week or longer.

Cobb salad has a red wine vinaigrette dressing. See Vegetarian Cobb Salad.

It is not recommended to freeze salad dressing.


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