What makes not just a good, but a great salad?
Firstly, good quality fresh ingredients. Slightly brown lettuce, limp cucumber and an over ripe tomato should be consigned to the bin. So, let's start afresh and look at what can make a great salad.
The flavor is sweet and succulent, handle carefully so as not to bruise the leaves
loose leaf lettuce
Twist off the stems, rinse, dry and serve with a mild creamy dressing, strong dressings will over power this lettuce.
You might find this referred to as rucola. Choose young leaves as they can get quite bitter and tough when mature
Part of the chicory family and resembles a small torpedo. A slightly bitter taste which can be offset by fruits or a mildly sweet dressing.
With its spidery type leaves it can add volume to a salad. The leaves are bitter but fun.
Another member of the chicory family.
The Italian part of the chicory family, there are a few varieties, all names after where they come from, colors ranging from green to dark red.
If you're looking for something modern, but expensive then look no further than micro-greens. No more than a week old they could possibly be mistaken for cress, which comes with a much smaller price tag, and can be grown in any kitchen/galley.
small round dark-green leaves and is peppery and
hot. Use sparingly, or if you have sufficient
try making a chilled cream of watercress soup.
Cucumbers and Courgettes may sometimes look the same but
have different taste and properties. Cucumbers have
a cold and waxy bumpy feeling exterior and
Zucchinis/Courgettes have a rough and dry exterior.
The flowers of the cucumber plant are not edible while the flowers of the zucchini are edible and can be considered them a delicacy. A cucumber is basically classified as a fruit while a zucchini on the other hand is most generally classified as a vegetable which means that it is prepared differently.
When these vegetables are eaten raw you will see yet another big difference. Cucumbers will be juicy, cool, and crisp. Zucchini on the other hand will be a little heartier.
- Cucumbers have a cold and waxy bumpy exterior and zucchinis have a rough and dry exterior
- Cucumbers are members of the gourd family and zucchinis are members of the Cucuribita family
- Cucumbers are classified as a fruit and zucchinis are classified as a vegetable
- When eaten raw cucumbers are juicy, cool and crisp. Zucchinis will appear sweet and bitter at the same time.
(too many to list...)
There are many different varieties of tomato, so to make things easy are the main types that you can expect to come across.
These are your big, red globe tomatoes. They can weigh in at a pound or more, with a 6-inch diameter. They will mix a tangy, acid bite with a touch of sweetness, creating a classic rich flavor.
These are juicy tomatoes, with lots of water. Beefsteaks come in more than 350 varieties. Often called “slicers” because of their size and meaty texture, these tomatoes are great stacked on a hamburger or BLT, or carved into wedges and sprinkled with salt. Or let them form the centerpiece of the meal.
Think baby Beefsteaks. These uniformly round tomatoes are racquetball-sized, with a thick skin. They make a distinctive “pop” when bitten into. Prized throughout Europe and the Middle East for their rich flavor and juicy, explosive texture, their smaller size also makes them perfect for individual consumption.
PLUMS OR ROMAS
The thick-walled, oblong plum tomato is synonymous with Italy. Known in supermarkets primarily as Roma tomatoes, these big-sweet, big-acid tomatoes are known for their chewy flesh and low water content. Which makes them perfect for tomato sauce.
These tomatoes also can be used for quick saute dishes or in fresh salads where you don’t want excess moisture. They offer longer shelf life than moister tomatoes.
Grape tomatoes, named for their size and shape, have become grocery store standards and offer predictable, uniform sweetness.
Mini-tomatoes also can be pear- or teardrop-shaped and often come in red or yellow. These will have a slightly bland, more subtle flavor than grape or cherry tomatoes.
Among the more exotic summer offerings are “black” tomatoes, which sport a deep purple color and run from plum-sized up to nearly a pound. They generally have a rich, almost salty taste.
The Cherokee Purple offers big flavor, as does the Black Krim, which is softer and juicier than the Cherokee. These tomatoes make beautiful caprese or tomato salad, and delicious salsa.
These super-juicy, gigantic tomatoes — up to 2 pounds — tend to be yellow with a red or orange blush, Davis-Hollander says. They have a big, fruity flavor with little of the acid associated with traditional tomato flavor.
GREEN, YELLOW AND ORANGE TOMATOES
Green tomatoes — meaning those that ripen to a gentle shade of green — generally offer an almost spicy taste.
Among the most popular is the Green Zebra, a slightly firm tomato with yellow-green skin and purplish stripes that runs roughly 2 inches around. Aunt Ruby’s German Greens are softer and can weigh in at a pound or more.
Yellow tomatoes tend to be sweeter and less acidic, with a generally mild flavor. Orange tomatoes, offer a rich orange color and mild fruity flavor, without the acidity associated with classic tomato flavor.
So, those are the basics, but there's not a lot that can be added or turned into a salad, nuts, seeds, fruits and of course don't forget to add some succulent chicken or a shrimp or two. A salad can be a meal unto itself or a simple side dish to your meal. One thing for certain is that with summer upon us it's time to think more about salad.