Salads And Dressings

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

10 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

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Components of salads go way beyond simple raw vegetables. Consider using grains, beans, lentils, pasta, fresh fruits and juices, oven-dried vegetables, fresh poultry or seafood, game, herbs and spices such as ginger, Kafir lime leaves, star anise, cardamom, curry, lavender, lemon balm, and fresh cinnamon. Salads are a wonderful place to feature high-fiber, good carbs, proteins, and low-fat ingredients.

Recipes for Wild Mushroom Salad (Recipe 9-8) and Baby Mixed Greens with Shaved Fennel and Orange Sections (Recipe 9-9) appear in this chapter. Other possible salad combinations include the following:

  • Baby Lentils and Roasted Vegetables
  • Yellow and Red Tomato Salad, Fresh Basil, Oregano, and Sweet-Roasted Garlic
  • Haricot Verts with Trio of Roasted Peppers
  • Carrot, Golden Pineapple, and Dried Pear Salad with Sweet-and-Sour Dressing
  • Whole-Wheat Bow-Tie Pasta with Fresh Tuna and Chives, Lemon Basil Dressing
  • Orzo Pasta with Tomato, Cilantro, Scallion, and Cucumbers
  • Yogurt Chicken Celery Hearts, Fresh and Dried Fruits
  • Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Golden Raisins
  • Organic Baby Lettuce, Marinated Cucumber and Tomato, Classic French Dressing
  • Multiple bean and grain salad, roasted or grilled vegetables and fresh herbs, such as Toasted Barley, Gigante or Chestnut Beans, garnished with Haricots Vert (Figure 9-5)
  • Fennel, Endive, Frisée, and Orange Salad (Figure 9-6)

Dressings are used in much more than salads. They can often be used as an ingredient in entrées, appetizers, relishes, vegetables, and marinades. There are

FIGURE 9-5 Salad: Barley, Beans, Tomatoes, and Fresh Herbs with Cut Vegetable and Haricot Garnish. Photo by Barnes B&B Solutions.

many categories of dressings. The best place to start is the basic vinaigrette, because it is simple and you can use ingredients such as herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits to create many variations. The best ingredients to use include good-quality vinegars, first-pressed olive and nut oils, and fresh herbs, because you need the strongest flavor with the least amount of fat. Other good ingredients that add flavor without large amounts of kcalories, fats, or carbohydrates include Dijon mustard, shallots or garlic (which may be roasted for a robust flavor), a touch of honey, reduced vinegars, and lemon or lime juice.

For examples of vinaigrette recipes, see the recipes for Basic Herb Vinaigrette (Recipe 9-10), Orange Vin-aigrette (Recipe 9-11), and Sherry Wine Vinaigrette (Recipe 9-12). If you look at the Basic Herb Vinaigrette recipe, you will notice that instead of a ratio of 3 parts oils to 1 part vinegar, this recipe uses 1 part oil, 1 part vinegar, and about 2 parts thickened chicken or vegetable stock. This results in a satisfactory product whose flavor profile is boosted with fresh herbs, spices, garlic, vegetables, fruits, high-quality olive oil, and vinegar.

Other salad dressings often fit into one of one of these categories.

Creamy dressings—Tofu can be processed to produce a creamy dressing, as in Green Goddess Dressing (Recipe 9-14). Other creamy ingredients are nonfat or low-fat yogurt, nonfat sour cream, and low-fat ricotta cheese. Pureed fruits and vegetables are creamy and can be used as emulsifiers in salad dressings. Pureed dressings—Examples of pureed dressings include potato vinaigrette, hummus, and smoked-pepper or tomato tarragon coulis. Some of these dressings, such as hummus and green goddess, work well as dips.

3. Reduction dressings—Examples include Orange Vinaigrette (see Recipe 9-11), beet, carrot-balsamic, and apple cider dressings. These dressings can be made simply and are powerhouses of flavor. Keep in mind that their sugar content increases with reduction, and so with their intense flavors, they should be used sparingly.

CHEF'S TIPS FOR SALADS AND DRESSINGS

  • As elsewhere in the kitchen, use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Choose ingredients for compatibility of flavors, textures, and colors.
  • Create a well-balanced dressing that is low in fat and made with extravirgin olive oil and a good vinegar and finished with fresh herbs and spices. Use this as one of your house dressings so that it is available to prepare a number of different choices.
  • Vegetables, both raw and cooked, go well with dressings that have an acid taste, such as vinegar and lemon.
  • Legumes make wonderful salads. For example, black-eyed peas go well with flageolets and red adzuki beans. To add a little more color and develop the flavor, you might add chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro (Chinese parsley), haricots verts (green beans), and roasted peppers. The opportunities for component salad combinations are endless and will add flair to all your outlets' menus.
  • Reduction dressings such as reduced beet juice can be put into a squirt bottle and used to decorate the plate for a salad, appetizer, or entrée.
  • Plan your presentation carefully in terms of height, color, and composition. Keep it simple. Do not overcolor or overgarnish. When planning your menu selections, add garnishes that are appropriate for the main ingredients. For example, if you have a Southwest-style chicken sausage appetizer, garnish it with a small avocado salad or a black bean tomato relish to complement the theme.

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The Miracle Of Vinegar

The Miracle Of Vinegar

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