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A Manifesto for Building Great Salads

HG Cooks

A Manifesto for Building Great Salads

Making a great salad means following rules – not recipes

When it comes to salads, we don't always love recipes. Instead, we think that understanding some basic rules of (salad) engagement will generate the best results, allowing you some creativity and unscripted freedom in the kitchen. Case in point: this spring salad pairs sugar snap peas, feta and mint, three ingredients that work beautifully together, but would welcome some lightly toasted, warm almonds or roasted asparagus if you're in the mood. With a little salad IQ in place, you can focus less on quantities, and more on the most important thing: using the freshest possible ingredients at your disposal. 

  1. Start with the freshest greens – and don’t forget to include some tender herbs such as parsley, basil, dill or mint.

  2. Make sure your greens are completely dry – after washing use a spinner or allow them to air dry on a towel.

  3. Ensure your ingredients are all the same size – bite-sized is ideal for easy and graceful eating.

  4. Contrast is your friend – try and balance sweet with salt, crunchy with soft.

  5. Use a big bowl to assemble and dress your salad before transferring to smaller bowls – many chefs recommend tossing with your hands for the best results.

  1. Avoid a soggy salad two ways: 1. Dress it just before serving 2. Don’t overdress it – if in doubt use less dressing, not more.

  2. Consider a touch of sweet in your dressing for a punch of flavour – add a little (approx. ½-1 teaspoon) of maple syrup, honey or aged balsamic.

  3. If you’re making a salad to serve as a main, consider adding warm, hearty ingredients such as roasted sweet potato, toasted walnuts or grilled radicchio.

  4. Salt and pepper are key to a great tasting salad – use a good finishing salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel, and make sure your pepper is freshly ground.

  5. Reserve some lighter, prettier ingredients for a final touch; you don’t want your grated parmesan, toasted nuts or chiffonade of herbs to get lost at the bottom of the bowl.

Tip: Use a shallow bowl over a plate, such as the medium pebble bowl from Mud Australia, pictured here.

A Bright Spring Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Feta and Mint

Combine these ingredients for a spring salad rich with flavour and texture.

  • Fresh spinach or little gem lettuce,

  • Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • Easter Egg radishes,  thinly sliced

  • Chopped fresh mint

  • Sugar snap peas

  • Crumbled feta

  • Salt, pepper

  • Dress with oil or balsamic or your favourite vinaigrette

HG Cooking Essentials