Crispy greens, juicy fruits, tangy beans, or creamy pastas; there's something special about every type of salad. Unlike fully cooked dishes, salads have a wonderful way of retaining the distinct flavor of each ingredient. You can taste every green in a cool garden salad and each addition in a warm potato salad. Whether you're an experienced chef or just learning how to cook, salads have a way of waking up your taste buds and your creativity.
The term salad evolved from the Latin word sal, which means salt, an important ingredient in salad dressing. Bringing out the natural flavor of fresh ingredients is the secret to creating salads, and salt is a historically vital aspect in flavor enhancement. Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians not only adored salads and salted salad dressings; they consumed the most coveted of all salad ingredients, lettuce. While you may think of raw salads and fancy dressings as modern ideas, ancient cultures reveal that humans have long appreciated the value and versatility of fresh produce.
It's true that modern salads include much more than just fruits and vegetables, but even potato, pasta, bean, and gelatin salads usually combine some sort of raw produce in the dish. Regardless of whether you grow your own succulent plants or choose the perfect produce from a farmer's market, turning raw ingredients into a culinary triumph provides a certain sense of satisfaction.
Fresh salads also offer something rare in modern life: They contain ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. As long as you stick with produce and all-natural toppings, you can create anything from an appetizer to an entrée without including a single mysterious additive in the meal.
Considering the easy preparation and numerous health benefits, it's surprising that more people don't eat a salad at least once a day. Part of the problem is due to a feeling that salads lack variety or imagination, which couldn't be farther from the truth. A pre-packaged tossed salad from the store may be a dull meal to eat every day, but with a little guidance and a few minutes of work, anyone can learn how to take a salad from simple to spectacular.
Think of salads as the ultimate culinary exploration and let the ingredients inspire you. Any ingredient you can consume in raw form can be put into a salad, as well as many foods that require cooking. All four food groups work in a salad, which means you can go wild at the grocery store. It's the perfect opportunity to grab a cheese you've always wanted to try, discover a new dressing to bring out the flavor of carrots, and find a use for the weird fruits you've seen in the produce aisle.
The Everything® Salad Book provides you with an array of recipes to suit every occasion, from fancy gourmet salads you can serve at dinner parties to quick and easy salads that even the fussiest kids will enjoy. You can explore light salads and dressings for low-calorie meals, as well as rich salads and dressings for indulgent meals. Along the way, you'll learn the secrets to making your own salads and dressings, as well as how to select, prepare, and store produce. In the end, it's all about playing with the flavors and textures until you discover your own special way of making the recipe just right.