WASHING AND DRYING LETTUCE – No matter how much ‘ready-washed’
salad you buy, it’s always worth an extra rinse. When using smaller greens, wash them carefully in a sink of cold water. Turn them over and lift them out into a colander. Dry them in batches (don’t cram them in or the leaves will bruise), using a salad spinner. Remember, if the leaves are wet, the dressing won’t cling to them.
HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS – Every builder needs a sturdy toolkit, and
as a salad architect, you’ll want the best kit too. A (really) sharp knife,
a good vegetable peeler, a pestle and mortar and a steamer are key.
From there, getting your hands on a spiralizer, a food processor or stick
blender and a mandolin will help to make salads swifter than ever.
PLATING/BOWLING – Rub your salad bowl with a clove of garlic and
some olive oil and season it well before putting in your lettuce leaves
to be dressed. This really makes a huge difference to the quality of
TOSSING – Use your hands – humans are a lot more delicate than salad
spoons, and you’ll be able to feel any dry patches that have missed a
spot of dressing. It’s best not to use your hands to serve though.
A NOTE ON DRESSINGS
We have given quantities for the dressings in this book, but it’s a good
idea to add a dressing gradually and see how much you need. When
using delicate leaves like lamb’s lettuce, frisée and rocket, dress the
salad at the last minute and use the dressing sparingly. More robust
greens like kale and cabbage won’t suffer if they’re dressed earlier.
When dressing roasted root vegetables and other cooked ingredients,
you’ll get a better final result if you tip the cooked vegetables into the
dressing while it’s still hot.
Extract taken from Leon Happy Salads by Jane Baxter and John Vincent, available here