In addition to the ingredients used in the preparation of salads, dressings usually forms an important part. An accompaniment of some kind is generally served with salads to make them more attractive and more pleasing to the taste.
When a salad is properly made, a salad dressing of some kind is usually added to the ingredients that are selected for the salad. Various salad dressings may be made to serve with salads. The kind of dressing to select depends both on the variety of salad served and on the personal preference of those to whom it is served.
Some of these contain only a few ingredients and are comparatively simple to make, while others are complex and involve considerable work in their making. These vary greatly as to ingredients and consequently as to composition, but most of them contain considerable fat and therefore increase the food value of the salad.
Sometimes these dressings contain no fat, and other times they have for their basis sweet or sour cream, but usually they are made so that they are somewhat acid to the taste.
Weight Control Salad Making
When the kind of salad to be served is decided on, the selection and preparation of the materials are the next matters to receive attention. Very often materials that are on hand are utilized in this way, but if it is possible to select the ingredients expressly for the salad, they should be very carefully chosen.
Any kind of salad, but particularly a vegetable or a fruit salad, becomes much more attractive if it is made with ingredients that are in good condition and that are attractive in appearance. They should therefore be fresh and crisp and never mushy, wilted or limp.
In the making of a salad, the cleaning of the ingredients used is a very important part of the work. While nothing should be wasted in the process of preparation, decayed or discolored leaves, stems, or parts of fruits and vegetables should, of course, be removed. Every lettuce leaf and every part of other salad vegetables should be looked over carefully and washed separately in cold water.
To accomplish this, the stalks or leaves must be taken apart after the root is cut off. Then, before they are used, they should be examined carefully again in order to make sure that no small bugs nor worms
and no dirt remain on them. It should be remembered that lettuce leaves bruise and break easily and so must be handled carefully if the best appearance is desired.
After fruits and vegetables have been carefully cleaned, they are ready to be peeled and cut into pieces of the size desired for the salad. An effort should always be made to have the pieces equal in size, similar in shape, and not too small.
They should be peeled in an economical way, but at the same time should be prepared as attractively as possible. When nuts are to be used in a salad, they should never be ground in a grinder; rather, they should be chopped or cut into small pieces with a knife.
After being so prepared, they should be added to the salad just before it is put on the table. This is a matter that should not be overlooked, for if the salad is allowed to stand very long after the nuts are added they will discolor the dressing and cause the salad to become dark and gray looking.
Serving Salads The Right Way
Several different ways of serving salads are in practice. Perhaps the most convenient method of serving this dish is to prepare individual portions of it on salad plates in the kitchen and then set these on the table at each person's place. If a simple table service is followed, the salad may be put on the table at the same time as the rest of the meal.
The correct position for the salad plate is at the left-hand side of the dinner plate and just a little nearer to the edge of the table than the bread-and-butter plate. The plates on which salad is served should be large enough to prevent the difficulty in eating that would be experienced if the plate were a trifle small.
It should therefore be remembered that the salad plate is the next larger in size to the bread-and-butter plate. In case individual salads are to be prepared, the plate should first be garnished with whatever vegetable green is selected for this purpose. If lettuce is to be used, a single leaf, several very small center leaves, or a small quantity of shredded lettuce will be sufficient, for a great deal of garnish is never desirable.
In case the leaves are very large, one may be divided in half and each part utilized. Then the salad ingredients, which have already been combined, should be piled in a neat heap on top of the garnish either with or without the salad dressing. If the salad dressing is not mixed with the materials, a spoonful or two of it should be placed on top of them.
Another method of serving this dish is to place the entire salad on a rather large, deep plate, such as a chop plate or a regular salad dish, and then serve it at the table whenever it is desired. When this is done, the dish that is used should be well garnished with a bed of vegetable green in the same way that a small individual plate is garnished. Then the salad ingredients should be nicely arranged on this bed, and the dressing, if it has not already been mixed with them, should be poured over the whole.
In serving salad in this way, there is much more chance of arranging the ingredients symmetrically and garnishing the salad attractively than when it is served on small plates. The large plate containing the salad, together with the small salad plates, should be placed before serving the salad.
When it is served, a leaf of the lettuce or other green used for garnishing should first be put on each salad plate and the salad should be served on this. A large fork and a large spoon are needed when salad is served in this manner.
In a dinner, the salad is generally served as a separate course, but in such a meal as luncheon it may be used as the main dish. If it is used as a separate course, it should be served immediately after the dinner course has been removed from the table. The salad plate should be
placed directly before the person served.
Forks especially designed with a wide prong on one side and known as 'salad forks' are the right type of fork to serve with this dish, but if none are available ordinary table forks of a small size may be used. It should be remembered that the salad should not be cut with the knife at the table, but should be eaten entirely with the fork.