In France and Italy, salads are included on all menus. Aside from being crisp and delicious, a salad provides an opportunity to eat vegetables raw, which delivers the most nutritional value. It’s good to know that Americans, too, are eating more salads.
Vegetables used in a salad should never be soaked.
Instead, wash them thoroughly in cold water and dry either with a towel or in a special wire basket designed for air-drying. Either way, drying is a must for delicious salads. It helps the dressing adhere, seals in the chlorophyl and keeps the salad fresh and crisp.
The best salad dressing is pure, natural vegetable oil with vinegar or lemon juice. In France, where a meal is not complete without a salad, the recipe for dressing is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Prepared, commercial dressings should be avoided. Aside from the fact that they are not as tasty as freshly prepared dressing, they are generally loaded with preservatives.
The secret of a delicious salad lies in the tossing. This should be done just before eating. Put the vegetables in a bowl, add the dressing (vinegar and oil lightly whipped together), and toss, gently picking up the ingredients between a fork and spoon-preferably wooden-lifting and mixing until each dry piece is coated. Add spices such as oregano, dill, basil, etc., and toss lightly once more. This tossing takes only a few seconds and it makes all the difference! Salad vegetables range beyond the lettuce family. Spinach, watercress, and endives can be substituted for, or added to lettuce. Other appetizing additions are carrots, bell peppers, raw beets, cauliflower and broccoli. A salad can be one of the most creative food preparations. While delicious, its leafy, green vegetables provide a greater concentration of vitamins and minerals than any other type of fresh food. If you don’t have the time to prepare a salad, serve an appetizer of attractively displayed fresh, raw vegetables such as radishes, cucumbers, celery and carrots.