Throwing together a green side salad seems idiot-proof—until you taste a truly great plate of well-seasoned, remarkably flavorful greens at a restaurant or a friend's house and think, "Well, what are they doing doing differently?"
In her newest cookbook, Dinner, Melissa Clark shares two smart ways to make simple leafy salads—which she serves with dinner "practically every single night"—stand out.
1. First, rather than whisk the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl, Melissa mixes the dressings as she tosses the greens—but in a very strategic order: Toss the leaves in the bowl with vinegar, salt, and pepper first; then drizzle over olive oil and fluff a second time.
Adding the vinegar, salt, and pepper to the greens before adding the oil gives the salt a chance to start dissolving, and therefore makes for a more evenly seasoned salad. It's a slight but noticeable difference.
2. And then, if she has a ripe avocado to add, she'll season it with salt, right on the cutting board, before transferring it to the bowl:
The trick with avocado is to salt it while it's on the cutting board, before you slide the cubes into the salad. Otherwise it never seems to get seasoned properly. Add the avocado after you've tossed the salad so the cubes don't break down and cut mushy.
Now it's your turn! Tell us your best tips for making well-seasoned simple salads in the comments below.
That got us thinking: Are there more salad components we should be seasoning pre-dressing? Like bland-ish white beans? Delicate fresh peas? Nearly-here spring seems like a good opportunity to try out our newfound knowledge.
More salads (and more Melissa Clark):
Share your best tip for a well-seasoned yet simple salad in the comments below.