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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Washing and preparation are the start of
a successful green salad

Most people have no difficulty in mixing up a simple green salad. But here are a couple of ideas for the perfect salad. It all starts with preparing the lettuce. Discard the outer leaves and any that are wilted or discoloured. Remove the stalks and the middle ribs. If you’re using smooth, green lettuce leaves it’s easy to see any discoloured bits, with red crinkly leaves it’s more difficult, so they need to be carefully checked.

Next wash the leaves in a bowl in plenty of cold water. Work quickly but thoroughly. If the lettuce is very sandy, you might have to use several changes of water to get it clean. The faster you work, the fewer nutrients are lost to the water. This is why it’s not a good idea to leave lettuce soaking in water, unless you are trying desperately to revive a slightly tired lettuce.

Be creative!

You should get the leaves as dry as possible to make sure that the dressing adheres well to each leaf. Put the leaves in a colander and shake them gently. Or use a salad spinner, but don’t fill it too full to avoid damaging the leaves. Once the leaves are dry, tear them into small pieces.

Now mix the salad. Choose a big bowl that will allow plenty of space for mixing the salad. If you’re using tender lettuce leaves don’t put the dressing on until just before you serve the salad, otherwise the leaves will become soggy. Tougher types of salad leaves such as chicory or endive can be coated with dressing an hour or so ahead of serving so that they have an opportunity to absorb some of the flavours. Keep the prepared leaves covered and cool until you’re ready to serve. Garnish the salad just before serving with edible flowers, herbs or other colourful ingredients.

Source: Dr. Claudia Müller, www.aid.de