This week in Garde Manger we focused more on the cold kitchen work of side salads. They consisted of Classic Caesar, Chicken Olivia, Spring greens with raspberry vinaigrette, house salad, and a side salad with warm bacon dressing. When thinking of a side of greens for any gathering or even planning a menu one must consider many things. What is in season? What is trending? What do you have in parstock? Why waste food cost on a new food order when you can use what you have since there is really no limit on what a salad can consist of.
Fresh citrus and spicy arugula, crunchy textures of roasted nuts, or even a warm dressing! We learned about many different kinds of greens you can use and please, for the sake of saving your guests a boring experience, leave the wedge salad in the 80’s. It has little to no nutritional value nor does it wow the guests palate with any sort of creative value. When it comes to salads you want bright, bold flavors, with vibrant colors and fresh ingredients.
What we learned about side salads is that it should be bold enough to wake up the palate but not so conspicuous that it overpowers the entree. If you’re going to use a protein in a side salad, be sure to use it sparingly. Two to Three ounces of protein should suffice. Use contrasting flavors like sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy, ect ect. Use seasonal trends like summer salads should be bright and citrus perhaps, winter salads use a more earthy approach such as roasted nuts or a pecan vinaigrette.
One must not over look the importance of a side salad, it’s the first thing that hits the guests palate not to mention it can set the precedence of their opinion of the whole course to come. So spruce up that rabbit food and wow your guests with something different! Be bold!