Step into spring with beautiful composed salads to serve at brunches. With ingredients arranged in groups on the plate, each guest can make a bowl of exactly what they want.
Simple at the same time as elegant, composed salads bring together bright vegetables, meats or seafood, fresh herbs, crunchy toppings, and a whole array of flavors and textures in one dish.
Here are some tips for making your own:
Start with leafy greens
Greens create a base for your salad presentation. Choose from usual favorites such as romaine, mesclun mix, arugula or spinach, or consider watercress or escarole.
Add raw vegetables.
Think about the blend of colors and flavors of your veggies. Include sliced radishes and shaved carrots, or fennel and snow peas. For a Mediterranean salad, add cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and cubes or slices of avocado.
Cook up some other vegetables.
Cooked vegetables bring different textures and flavors to complement the raw choices. Consider grilling, blanching or roasting them. Great options include zucchini or yellow squash, green beans, sweet potatoes and cauliflower or broccoli florets. Make it easier by picking up cooked edamame or roasted peppers at the store.
Include a row or two of fresh herbs.
From basil to cilantro to mint, fresh herbs add earthy flavor to your salad spread.
Add sweetness with fruit.
Fresh fruit brings a sweet and juicy element to the dish and balances out the savory veggies. Try melon, mangos, peaches or figs, to name a few.
Cured, smoked or otherwise cooked, meats and seafood make it a complete the meal.
For an uncooked meaty component, try cured meats or smoked fish, with many local options in the store. Poach or grill shrimp, chicken or salmon. Marinate and pan sear flank steak and add it to the plate in slices.
Think about hearty grains and beans.
Add at least one option for beans and grains. Choose from white beans, cannellini beans and chickpeas. For grains, go for protein-packed quinoa, farro or wheat berries.
Add something tangy.
Tangy elements bring out the other flavors of the salad, with olives, pickled red onions or preserved lemon.
Top it off with something crunchy.
Add a row of something your guests can use to finish off their salad with a crunch, such as croutons, roasted chickpeas or fried shallots.
Don’t forget the dressing.
Dress your salad with something simple, such as lemon and olive oil. Make your own creamy tzatziki dressing with Greek yogurt or a balsamic vinaigrette. Or try one of the many dressings available in the grocery aisle, including a wide selection of dressing locally made by Cindy’s Kitchen in Brockton.