How to dress a salad

Crunchy cucumber salad with yoghurt and mint

Crunchy cucumber salad with yoghurt and mint

What I know about salads I owe to une femme who took me in as a boarder in Toulouse. Despite falling on hard times, she presented a balanced meal every night.

The structure was usually entrée, a simple main course (one night, when we had guests from the country, it was roast pheasant, pick-out-the-buckshot-as-you-eat, with sautéed apples; one of the best meals I've eaten), then salad, then fruit.

The salad was a mix of soil-grown leaves, bought at the bi-weekly market. My favourite was heart of cos, treviso and rocket, dressed with vinaigrette: a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

La femme would clean and dry the leaves, place them in a bowl, make the vinaigrette, then pour it down the side of the bowl. After the main course, the salad was tossed and served - a habit I still observe when hosting dinner parties.

I like my salads bitter with a classic vinaigrette: rainbow chard, chicory, kale, dandelion and fennel fronds, snow pea shoots and sprouted mustard. Salad in the French meal is a palate cleanser, a pause - punctuation at its best.

Here are some spring salad recipes to try.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
David Chang’s Ugly Delicious is about to make you very hungry
09.02.2018
Lee Tran Lam on her obsession with podcasts
09.02.2018
Australia’s top-ranked cheeses announced
02.02.2018
SBS to screen four top food documentaries in February
30.01.2018
Josh Niland to open a seafood shop in Sydney
29.01.2018
Sydney Fish Market: now delivering
17.12.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Spring salads

I want to put more life into my salads this spring. What can...