Potluck foods have changed dramatically in the past few years.
Where once there may have been a token veggie and dip platter, today, salads seem to dominate the show.
No longer are we choosing between garden or Caesar salad, but spinach, quinoa, greek, southwestern and cobb. Even places like Wendy’s and McDonald’s have an assortment of salads. So if you want to bring a showstopper to your next event, keep the following tips in mind:
Fresh is best. Salad greens that have wilted or started to spoil do not taste good. My experience with pre-washed salad bags is they have often started to spoil. Make sure you check the expiry date. In summer, fresh lettuce can be bought at your farmers market or grown in your garden. To store your own “ready-to-use” lettuce, wash and dry well in a salad spinner. Then wrap in a paper towel and store in a ziplock bag or air-tight container in your fridge.
Use different colours. Having a range of colours in your salad will increase the variety of vitamins and minerals in your salad as well as its visual appeal. Add grated beets or carrots, shredded purple cabbage, sliced peppers, radishes, cucumbers or tomatoes. Fruits can also offer colour and sweetness: berries, slices of pear or apple.
Offer contrasting textures. These salads are more interesting to eat. One of my favourite additions to almost any salad is toasted nuts or seeds. Toasting nuts increase their complexity of flavour and crunch. Avocados can add something creamy; dried fruit something chewy.
Add fresh herbs. In summertime, fresh herbs are readily available and can add a lot of flavour to your salad without extra fat, sugar or calories. Chopped herbs such as dill, chives, basil, mint, parsley and cilantro are all delicious on salads. They also add visual appeal as a garnish.
Salad dressing can make or break your salad. My favourite dressing is a mixture of equal parts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, with a little Dijon mustard and maple syrup added.
Macedonian Feta. Creamier and less salty than your regular feta, you will never go back. Available at any Mediterannean food store in a larger centre.