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Salads Cooking Information Tips and Information

Salads Cooking Information and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.

salads info

f when I say salad you think `pickled beetroot` then something is missing and that something is the wonderful sumptuous range of salads that exists beyond the beetroot scenario. All over the world salads comprise some of the most delicious end freshtasting food there is and you`ll find in this book salads from Thailand the middle East. Europe and America which is perhaps the queen of salad nations. It`s only in America that salad has really become a dish in its own right a main course as often as not and really quite a substantial one at that.

In many of these salads lettuce makes no appearance at all but a whole range of interesting ingredients do from pasta to asparagus prawns to mozzarella rice to aubergines. But that`s not to decry lettuce especially not now that we`re blessed with an amazing range of salad leaves available all year round. Lettuces come in three principal categories: first the buttery soft looseleafed lettuces that are usually good as a background to other more substantial ingredients: second the Cos lettuces long thinleaved quite crispy with a strong and definitive taste. They`re delicious on their own and used a lot in America (where they`re known as Romaine) to make salads with strong tastes and textures like Caesar salad. They`re also used in middle Eastern salads as spoons particularly the small inner leaves that have a curl to them. There`s a miniature Cos lettuce widely available in Britain these days called Little Gem which has the same sort of flavour but only stands about 15 cm/6 in high. Last but not least there are the Iceberg or crisphead lettuces. These are usually the shape of a small football with very crisp leaves often pale green in colour tightly wrapped around each other. They`re valued for their texture more than for their flavour. I`ve had them sliced into wedges and served with a thick dressing poured over them without any further preparation and very good and filling they were too. They make good bowls for other foods if you peel the leaves off carefully and shredded they make a wonderful longlasting crisptextured base for other ingredients.

There is an enormous variety of other basic salad ingredients. Watercress and chicory have been around for quite a while and they`re very good additions to any salad: as are the frilly lettuces such as frisee. They often have a slightly heavier texture than other lettuces and a slightly bitter edge but that`s no bad thing because they can be served with more flavoursome or sweeter dressings. There are also Chinese leaves palelooking giant Cosshaped cabbages that are just as nice eaten raw as they are cooked. And rocket a peppery green herb similar in pungency to watercress which used to he popular in Britain in the seventeenth century and has made a comeback via

the popularity of italian food. Beetroot now comes without the ability to repeat as often as they used to.

And while we`re on the subject of variety tomatoes have changed from standard rather woolly red balls into a wonderful range of flavours textures and sizes. Starting

at the big end there are the French or Marmande (beefsteak) tomatoes. Real French ones are slightly misshapen intensely flavoured and make the best tomato salads with

a rich vinaigrette dessing and a little chopped onion or chives on top. Cherry tomatoes are my next favourite at the opposite end of the size scale. Often no more than a mouthful they`re usually very sweet and strongly flavoured. Ordinary tomatoes appear

to have been given a push by all this competition because they seem to be grown now for flavour as well as for shape and colour. Plum tomatoes have recently made their appearance adding another dimension to tomato taste and texture; these are essentially italian tomatoes used there as much for cooking as for eating in salads. Two

other interesting developments are vineripened tomatoes and yellow tomatoes the former usually still on the stalk in the packet. This means that they have been brought

to full ripeness on the plant rather than in a ripening room giving them a greater sweetness and intensity of flavour. There are yellow tomatoes of varying sizes and shapes. Don`t be put off by them. Originally tomatoes in Mexico were fully ripe when green so yellow ones are a perfectly reasonable variation.

So all in all we`re extraordinarily well provided with the basics for making salads though the recipes you`ll find in this book offer far more opportunities than that. The

French have a great gift for salads with light and crunchy additions such as pine nuts and croutons while America`s substantial salads with chicken and mayonnaise avocados and fruit are without question meals in themselves. The middle and Far East provide some interesting variations often with unexpected ingredients like bread or mangoes.

These are usually meant to be eaten as part of a meal with two or three other dishes on the table as well rather than as an accompaniment to a single meat or fish dish. Then there are the really substantial salads meant to be the central starchy part of any

meal based on potatoes pasta or rice. What unites them all is an interesting combination of contrasts: in texture crunchy and soft: in taste fresh and cooked: and in flavour mild and pungent. Perhaps more than in any other dishes salads include such a number of these contrasts. Consider for example a salad made of quails` eggs with the addition of tomatoes pine nuts and a vigorous lemon dressing crisp and soft sharp and sweet and a delight to the eye.

unpickled and cucumbers come


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