When in doubt, throw it in a salad. That’s our mantra when it comes to using up all the gorgeous produce coming to us from the farmer’s market. We’re tapping the experts at one of our favorite farm-fresh caterers in downtown LA, Urban Palate, for a little advice on maximizing our salad-making efforts.
We run into Urban Palate’s delicious layouts everywhere we go, from private events with their pals, Bash, Please to press gatherings at The Unique Space. We knew these locavores would have the best tips on perfect salads and we love their recipe for a rhubarb-centric salad we’re whipping up to match our new obsession with rhubarb juice!
How To Compose The Perfect Salad:
Mise En Place
Chop your ingredients and place each element in a separate bowl, so that you can coat every item with a bit of dressing and seasoning.
Salt and pepper each element – this is very important.
Toss a little bit of dressing with each ingredient – except for cheese and pine nuts as these will get soggy.
Have your large salad bowl or your individual salad plates ready for final plating.
Once each element is dressed and seasoned, compose the salad in the following order:
1 salad mix
4 pine nuts
5 a few pieces of rhubarb – use sparingly as it can be overpowering but adds a nice tart crunch
6 drizzle of fig balsamic
The perfect mix
By handling each ingredient separately you can control the amount of dressing and make sure each element is seasoned perfectly. Your greens will stay bright and crisp since you’re not over mixing them.
Strawberry Rhubarb Summer Salad
1 lb of organic baby greens
rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
3 baskets of organic farmers market strawberries, cut in half, tops removed
1/2 lb smoked goat manchego, thinly shaved with potato peeler
1 large handful pignon (pine nuts)
1 cup fig balsamic
extra-virgin olive oil
Toast the pine nuts quickly in a pan. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the fig balsamic until it becomes a syrup, but keep an eye on it as it burns easily. Set aside.
Make a quick balsamic dressing by combining 1 part balsamic to 2 parts extra-virgin olive oil with salt and pepper. (Aim for about 1/3 cup total.) Set aside.
Assemble according to the tips below.
Try your salad with any of these perfect ingredients too:
grilled peaches or nectarines
persimmons, when seasonal
sharp aged cheddar
truffle tremor goat cheese