Making a salad, what could be easier in the kitchen? However, mistakes are common: poor preservation, minimalist washing, seasoning at the wrong time… Here are instructions for preparing a green salad according to the rules of the industry.
Behind the word “salad” hides many different types and many ways to prepare it correctly. Charlotte Entraigues (1) and Patrice Richard (2), both Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Primeur 2019, provide their details on the subject.
Choose your salad at random
Batavia is the most commonly eaten. We are also very familiar with lettuce, oak leaf, lamb’s lettuce and arugula. However, “a salad is chosen according to everyone’s taste. It depends on whether we like it tender, crunchy, smooth, curly, peppery, sweet, bitter, red, green… and also according to the dishes we want to serve. It is”, begins Charlotte Entriges. Without forgetting to respect the seasons, Patrice Richard completes: “In summer we eat Batavia, in winter, escarole, curly or lamb’s lettuce”. However, there are rules that cover all periods of the year, starting with very vigorous leaves, not dry and without spots. “You have to test bleaching at heart, it’s a guarantee of freshness”, continued the young woman. “The back of the lettuce varies from white to dark red. The lighter it is, the better,” confirms Patrice Richard. As a result, pre-washed salad is less recommended: “We see that a lot of mesclun looks ready to use, you have to be careful with it. In general, it is pre-washed with chlorine. Choose natural”, advises the ‘ expert.
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Keep it open
Salad is a very fragile product. It should be consumed as soon as possible. Its shelf life does not exceed 6 days depending on the variety. Wind and ambient temperature damage it. So there is nothing better than the fridge to keep it. “A salad can be kept cold, whole or cut. To avoid oxidation, it is kept in a bag or an airtight box”, explains Charlotte Entraigues.
The most important thing in making a salad is to wash the leaves to get rid of any soil or insect residue that has been invited in. “You have to do it carefully with cold water and wipe it off well. It’s also possible to add a few drops of white vinegar to repel small animals,” says the professional. But if something remains, it’s reassuring, says Patrice Richard: “It’s a very good sign because it means there was no toxic product in it”.
Do not drain it
Then don’t forget to dry it well. Moisture favors premature deterioration of the product. In terms of flavor, we lose flavor and crunch if the leaves are still waterlogged. To drain: a wringer. But don’t panic if you don’t have this container on hand: “A clean cloth is enough. We put the washed leaves in it, then we shake the folded cloth at both ends to get all the water out”, explains Charlotte. Entraigues.
It is very early seasoning
“The ideal is to season it at the last minute, just before serving, so that the salad stays as fresh as possible and is not “cooked” by all the oil”, assures Charlotte Entrigues. “The last minute is the best time to add to your preparations because it will help keep all the crises at bay,” says Patrice Richard. Once ripened, the mixture is impossible to store even in a cold place without spoiling. Remember that when preparing the salad, it is best to tear the leaves by hand rather than cutting them with a knife to delay oxidation due to the acidity of the vinaigrette. So we put the blunt stuff away and treat the product with love, it will only be better for it.
(1) Fruiti Royan, 150 avenue de Rochefort, 17200 Royan. For example. : 05 46 06 39 87.
(2) Ladam Futures, 24 Rue de Mars, 51100 Reims. For example. : 06 61 63 48 90.
This article, originally published on June 16, 2019, has been updated.