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tossing green salad

 
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pbone



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Dutchess County, NYS

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 12:30 am    Post subject: tossing green salad Reply with quote

How do the French do it? They manage to distribute the dressing lightly throughout the lettuce(s) and there's never a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl or on the plate. I know to toss salad like a crazy woman with the oil (and salt) first, then I generally add a nice squeeze of fresh lemon or some kind of vinegar. But I never get it exactly how the French do...any suggestions? Maybe it's the oil I use. I use extra virgin olive oil, which may be a little heavy...what's the very best oil to use for a fabulous salad, like arugula or baby spinach or frizee with bacon bits and a poached or coddled egg on top))))))))?
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SirShazar



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 89

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the problem with what you were doing is that you put the oil on first, which makes the surface of the greens watertight, so the lemon juice just washes down around them and gets pooled at the bottom. Alternatively, if you put the lemon juice (or vinegar) first, it could wilt the leaves. What you need to do is make the salad and the sauce separately and than drizzle over the top before serving. This has the added benefit of letting you taste the sauce for adjustments.

What you are making is essentially a vinaigrette. The classic method is to mix the vinegar with all the ingredients but the oil, and than slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.

I usually put all the ingredients in a tight lidded jar, and than shake it hard (works best if you shake it like a cocktail over your shoulder). It's convenient because you can keep it in the jar for as long as you need and just shake it before each use.

To serve, drizzle the vinaigrette in a wide circle over the salad, than toss gently. I don't worry too much about it being evenly distributed, but you do than you can mix it in a large bowl and than use a slotted spoon or tongues to move it to the serving dish.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like SirShazar mentioned, I recommend tossing in a large bowl and then transferring to a serving bowl if you want it to look nice. I usually use a bowl at least two times larger than the one that I'm going to serve in so I can toss effectively, then I serve in the smaller bowl.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 998
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

also:

the greens must be as close to dry as possible.

hence the "salad spinner" etc

if the greens are freshly washed & sopping wet nothing sticks to them and eventually the water puddles in the bottom.
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pbone



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Dutchess County, NYS

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aren't you the BEST! Yes, my leaves are dry, but you're so right. A long time ago, I used to make salad and dressing separate, but then I lived in Italy, and I saw that what they do is first toss the greens with salt (which actually they mashed up a bit in a big spoon, with a little oil) and oil, and then they added vinegar or vinegar, etc (herbs, maybe) and tossed the salad again. So I started doing that, first coating the leaves with oil, then the rest. But recently, I went to a french restaurant and marveled (again) at how they manage to make each leaf have just the right taste and amount of dressing, hence my post. Maybe I can give you a reciprocal hint: in making vinaigrette, if one wants it "thickened" as someone else posted a question about, I wouldn't use mayo, I'd just add one egg yolk to the jar before I shake it over my shoulder like a ....the egg yolk serves to bind the oil and vinegar together, as well as to thicken the dressing. I'm not one who worries about salmonella.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 998
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

an important technique to this subject:

Gosh Grandma what a big bowl you have!

getting the dressing spread around nicely takes cubic space - all the greens need room to move about freely.

in a large party, doing Caesar table side I've never seen more than two servings made simultaneously in this like forty foot bowl . . .
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

susan pettibone wrote:
Aren't you the BEST! Yes, my leaves are dry, but you're so right. A long time ago, I used to make salad and dressing separate, but then I lived in Italy, and I saw that what they do is first toss the greens with salt (which actually they mashed up a bit in a big spoon, with a little oil) and oil, and then they added vinegar or vinegar, etc (herbs, maybe) and tossed the salad again. So I started doing that, first coating the leaves with oil, then the rest. But recently, I went to a french restaurant and marveled (again) at how they manage to make each leaf have just the right taste and amount of dressing, hence my post. Maybe I can give you a reciprocal hint: in making vinaigrette, if one wants it "thickened" as someone else posted a question about, I wouldn't use mayo, I'd just add one egg yolk to the jar before I shake it over my shoulder like a ....the egg yolk serves to bind the oil and vinegar together, as well as to thicken the dressing. I'm not one who worries about salmonella.


Yup -- to bring the engineering back to this discussion -- a vinaigrette is an emulsion ; if you want it to stay in emulsion and keep from separating out and getting thin as a result, you need an emulsifier. Egg yolk contains proteins and other chemicals like Lecithin that act as emulsifiers and will keep the vinegar and oil from separating. Likewise you could also use mustard as an emulsifier if you didn't trust raw egg yolk.
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pbone



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Dutchess County, NYS

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: egg yolk, how to toss a salad Reply with quote

Well, just mention Caesar salad, and I'm reminded of a wonderful story which you all deserve to hear: There's this little restaurant at the corner of Bleecker and Lafayette in NYC where I used to have lunch every day when I worked a block away. One day, Lauren wazzername, the Estee Lauder model and later, something of an actress, came in, as she occasionally did cuz she lived nearby, to this restaurant, and she was wearing a big, loose man's shirt, light blue oxford cloth shirt, unbuttoned nearly to her, well, well below her boobs...almost to her navel. She ordered a caesar salad, which they made at the table, pricking a raw egg yolk and HUTTON! That's her name...anyway, the waiter came to the table and he was in the process of adding the contents of the egg yolk to the caesar salad, holding back the little membrane that holds an egg yolk together, and he found himself distracted by what would have been cleavage, had Ms Hutton been bigger boobed, and he dropped the whole egg yolk onto the salad. This was truly one of the more hilarious things I've ever witnessed at lunch. And I'm sharing it because you've all been so kind to help with the details of dressing a salad. Hope you can totally visualize the above described occurrence. Of course it's true. Ask Lauren if you don't believe me. )))))))
best to you all...and um, what kind of OIL do those french use?


Last edited by pbone on Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Watt
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Yup -- to bring the engineering back to this discussion -- a vinaigrette is an emulsion ; if you want it to stay in emulsion and keep from separating out and getting thin as a result, you need an emulsifier. Egg yolk contains proteins and other chemicals like Lecithin that act as emulsifiers and will keep the vinegar and oil from separating. Likewise you could also use mustard as an emulsifier if you didn't trust raw egg yolk.


I would disagree with the statement that "a vinaigrette is an emulsion", usually a a vinaigrette is an admix of oil and either vinegar and/or lemon/lime juice. This is not an emulsion, merely a suspension of water droplets in oil. An egg yolk contains phospholipids which provides the emulsion. Mustard is not an emulsifier, but helps to maintain the emulsion, in mayonaise, for example.

If using a vinaigrette to dress a salad, make it in a mortar, with pestle. Add salt and raw garlic, then the oil and souring agent. Into a bowl of dry leaves, add a tablespoon of the vin. at a time, and mix well. Continue to add, until there is a hint of moisture on the botom of the bowl. Serve immediately.
thoughts
Watt
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