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Monday, December 6, 2010

How Should Salad Be Served?!? (A Great Salad Debate!)

This weekend at work a couple of chef friends and I were having a fun little chat about the best way to serve salads: tossed, semi-tossed, or un-tossed. This little discussion has turned into quite the argument in our kitchen (I never knew people were so opinionated about salad!), so we are looking for some outside our kitchen input from you! Let's go to the evidence and break down the arguments for and against each of these styles!

Figure 1: The Classically Tossed Salad:


The nice green leaves flutter with color and are nicely complimented with tomatoes and peppers, along with the chefs choice on the amount of dressing added (unless otherwise specified by the patron). No effort needed here just grab your fork and chomp away!

The naysayers of the traditional salad are saying that the plating is not as "glamorous" as the un-tossed salad and a chef can add too much dressing/oil/vinegar/etc making the salad soggy, plus the mix of lettuce to other vegetables could be less then ideal for the patron. 

Figure 2: The Semi-Tossed Salad:


Now your taking a look at the semi-tossed salad with a mix of chicken, mango, cucumber and almonds where the patron has the opportunity to add dressing and lettuce as they see fit.  This obviously gives the user an opportunity to put their own twist on a dish! The plating style  is visually preferred by some with its nice balance of color and ingredients. 

Those who are against this method say "if you toss half the salad why not just go for the whole thing and give it a "fresher" feel."  Other comments being thrown around focus on the lettuce, asking the question, "who really wants to peel a head of lettuce while they are eating, is that not an activity for the preparation?"

Finally we have Figure 3: The Un-Tossed Salad:


What you see is what you get here, steak on top, tomatoes on the side, lettuce and carrots below, a split egg on either side, with a touch of onions near the back.  The ultimate salad for the picky eater, have what you want, add what you want, mix, match and enjoy! To make plating a visually appealing here a chef must take time to properly organize the ingredients.

Those who are not fans of the un-tossed salad serving method have been saying: "why not just go to the grocery store, its essentially the same thing" and "there is no real culinary skill involved in putting this together, the quality of the salad is determined by the users ambition not the chef's."

So internet foodies, what's your vote! Let us know what you prefer because in the end the consumer(eater) is always right!

Happy Monday, Chef Mike 
(Recipes for 2 of the above to come later this week!)

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