Fresh Green bowl with lime & coriander vinaigrette
The Perfect Tossed Salad
A tossed salad simply means a salad that is assembled by 'tossing' (turning over multiple times) various ingredients and the salad dressing together, thereby mixing the ingredients and coating them with the dressing. The most common way of creating a salad is to toss (e.g. Caesar salad); if you are dining in bistros or restaurants, you might find salads that are stacked (or layered) to make the presentation more stunning (e.g. the traditional prawn cocktail). When it comes to creating salads at home, there are really no rules - you can toss, layer or lay it out on a platter - whichever way you like, the possibilities are only limited by one's imagination. Here, I am focusing on tossed salads but the guidance is good for any type of salad.
The perfect tossed salad is one that uses the freshest and in season ingredients you come across at the green grocer, with the dressing mixed in just before serving. The salad will taste its best, and as a side benefit you will maximise the availability of the nutrients from the ingredients while peak-fresh. My only advice is not to 'throw whatever is in the fridge into a salad'! Consider balancing textures (crunchy vs smooth; cooked vs raw), tastes (bitterness, sweetness, tartness) and colours (bright colours are a good indication of the freshness of the ingredients).
I like to use both raw and cooked vegetables in my green bowl - here is the recipe of the fresh green bowl I made last week, that accompanied the crispy-skin salmon with roasted red capsicum sauce. The lime and coriander vinaigrette is a versatile dressing that is milder than the typical French vinaigrette, and goes well with grain, vegetable or even more meaty salads. For more tips on dressings, here is an earlier blog I did on the topic.
Greenwich Plate Fresh Green Bowl With Lime Coriander Vinaigrette - Recipe (serves 4)
For the salad:
Brussels sprouts, a dozen pieces, tops chopped off, halved
Kale, 5-7 stalks, leaves only
1/8 cabbage, shredded
Baby spinach, a handful
Organic quinoa (tricolour), 1/8 cup
1/2 an avocado, sliced
Verjuice, 1 tablespoon (or aged red wine vinegar)
Lime, half (save the other half for the dressing)
For the dressing:
Coriander, small handful, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Aged red wine vinegar, 3/4 tablespoon
Juice from 1/2 a lime
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
1. In a clean glass jar with a lid, mix the dressing ingredients together, shake until all mixed in together. Refrigerate until ready to toss into the salad.
2. Rinse quinoa, soak for 10 minutes. Place quinoa with one and a half times the amount of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 12 minutes or until cooked through.
3. Spread brussels sprouts on an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and a splash of verjuice (or red wine vinegar) in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.
4. Blanch kale leaves in a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds, then drain.
5. In a large bowl, toss three-quarters of the salad dressing with the greens - the cabbage, baby spinach, kale, brussels sprouts and quinoa, then season further to taste. Top with avocado slices, and drizzle with the remaining dressing on top.
6. Serve with a lime wedge on the side at the table.
i) slice the avocado just before serving to avoid it from turning brown;
ii) to have this salad as a substantive vegetarian meal on its own, add crumbed feta on top, and increase the amount of quinoa per person for the extra protein.