I personally really enjoy salad leaves, they are a wonderful raw ingredient with a variety of textures, flavors, and colors.
Here are a few salad dishes made with a premix of salad leaves we have prepared in the restaurant:
Leaves play a very important role in the culinary world – they may be a part of many dishes or play a role on their own, they may serve as a spice or as a decorative element, they may be eaten raw or in most cases even be cooked in various ways.
In this short post I will explain a method with which to make a premix of leaves to use during service.
This post is short but I find it very important as the method I will share with you here I go over with the chefs in my kitchen.
In the photos attached to this post (I apologize for their quality) you can see what we did in real life to prepare our mixed leaves.
The big secret is…. lots of water.
Prepare a balanced mixture of leaves that you like (or whatever proportions look right to you) – a mixture that combines different textures (and strengths of leaves), colors and flavors.
For example, endive, arugula, romaine lettuce, frisee lettuce. In this mix, for example, there is a level of integration between crunchy textures but also between different flavors – spicy arugula, bitterness from the endive, sweetness from the romaine lettuce, etc.
Decide on the cut of the leaves you would like in your mix.
Perhaps you want large pieces… You need to choose if you want them torn or cut with a knife… Each such decision changes the final outcome of your salad and that is what I find wonderful about the kitchen.
Prepare a large water bath – I use the sink in the kitchen with enough water for the entire mix I prepared to be able to move. Place the leaves inside the water even if you have already received them cleaned and treated.
Mix well – you will notice how easier it is to mix and combine the leaves in the water – leaves floating in water mix very well without leaving any leaves untouched or causing damage to them.
Strain the water and then dry well in a salad leaf dryer – the dryer the mixture is the better it will stay crisp and fresh for up to 2 days if taken care of, which should be done daily.
If you are a serious foodie cooking at home you can make a small amount using a domestic small salad dryer and keep in a good sealed tupperware box lined up with absorbing paper or better yet, a straining base.
I prefer keeping the mixture in a drawer of the fridge lined with a kitchen towel.
Of course, you may do the same thing with micro leaves such as parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and many more.
So before you run to learn how to scale and fillet a fish, or prepare meat, I suggest you begin with dismantling the base and learning how to properly take care of salad leaves.
Here are some photos of the steps:
Thank you for reading,