Posted 4:52 PM 5/16/2012 : Let's Make a Meal: May is National Salad Month!
TUCSON - Today on "Let's Make a Meal," our food contributor Jennifer English stopped by with another fabulous dish. Here's what she had to say:
May is National Salad Month , and is it any wonder as golden buds break into leafy greens which turns into nutritional gold in the marketplace. Since I started doing these segments four years ago, I have repeated my mantra of No More Boring Salads, and I think it is catching on.
The April showers bring May flowers but even better, they bring some of the best leafy lettuce greens of the year. Here in Arizona we have a rich array of flavors and produce with which to compose fantastic, multi-colored, textured salads. Complete complex compositions, like leafy green jazz music. Improvisations made up of the seasonal bounty of the produce department ( and increasingly our own backyards!)
No More Boring Salads: Follow these five simple steps to create a satisfying supper salad ( works for lunch too) to stamp out boring salads in your house forever!"
1. Texture: The Greens
Avoid the Iceberg Captain! Find the best leafy greens of the freshest local quality you can. Mix it up too, don't just fall back on an iceberg lettuce. Lettuce is the texture & color cornerstone of a great salad, and can offer a full range from soft Boston lettuce ( try the hydroponic live versions) to the gutsy bold crunch Romaines. More adventurous? Try peppery dandelion greens, soft baby spinach or spicy watercress or arugula.
2. Color: Consider the cornerstone greens, are they pale and soft green white like Boston or Chinese cabbage or are they Great Green Superfood Green like Red leaf? Next build upon that with a contrast of colors. The rest of the beta carotene family is a great place to go next, and yes this does include carrots ( which can also deliver a high crunch factor) also consider onions, peas ( beautiful and crunchy fresh from the pod.
3. Satisfaction: Salty, Sweet, Sour & Bitter:
Remember that the more of each of these building blocks of flavor we get in each bite of our food, the more SATISFACTION we will derive from that bite. Think about the flavors you are pulling together for the salad. A bitter green like peppery arugula, sweet carrot & onion, salty......When you think about salty there are many ways to go. Celery can provide much needed saltiness and crunch. Nuts can do the same. Sweetness in the form of fruit can cover the sweet component. Fresh or dried, diced or slivered.
4. Dressing: Don't be intimidated.
I think a lot of people are intimidated about making salad dressing. Making salad dressing is a lot easier than making your own clothes. Great dressing only has 3 ingredients. Oil, vinegar ( or other acid) seasoning. That's it. Which oil, which acid and seasoning ? The world of combinations is limitless. I will share my own recipe with you.
5. Completeness: The Star of the Show
Lastly I want to highlight the notion of completeness. Have you noticed then when in a restaurant salads now come with an add chicken, shrimp or salmon option for an additional charge? That is because a Supper Salad will have elements of big protein, nutrition or a star moment. Leftover can often be a wonderful starting point for composing a salad. The last piece of leftover fried chicken, or slice of Sunday roast.
Our good friends at www.everybodyeatsnews.com offer us this version of a Traditional Seven Layer Salad
So is there a better way to celebrate National Salad Month? Take the No More Boring Salad Pledge today!
Your mouth will thank you. And so will your family.
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