Jamie Oliver’s principles for superb salads
I want to show you a little bit about
Salads. Get you into it, get you understanding it – a lot of people, a lot of restaurants, a lot of shops
do salads so, so bad and they can be excitin,g colorful, tasty.
And I eat them every day because I want to, not because it’s healthy, okay.
So I want to get your head around a few principles. So first things first – if you want to save money and have a better
product and have, you know, just better quality salad leaves, buy salad heads –
It’s a tiny bit more of a faff, but let me talk you through that you can buy heads of Oak leaf
Watercress you know and Endive, little gem lettuce like this, and there’s many many more different types of salad
What you do is you just take the outer leaves off, take the core out.
Wash them in clean water
and – maybe wash them in different batches of clean water until it’s all nice and clean and then just drain it in a
Colander, and then that way you’re going to save a load of money to be frank the bag stuff is convenient,
but at the same time if you want to save money and have a better product,
that’s the way to go. Now one of the things that a lot of people don’t have that
I absolutely swear by is a salad spinner and basically it’s a little bowl like that, with a spinner,
with a basket here like that,
and you just spin them like that.
And it’s not one of those annoying gadgets that look good, but you never use. The whole reason this is important is because
All of that water there, right, that water here,
isn’t sticking around your salad leaf, and the reason that that’s good is when you do a Dressing,
it’s going to stick to that leaf and
the water, if it was left on, would make your Dressing (even if it was good) really bland. If you haven’t got one of these,
(you don’t have to buy one – they’re convenient) – what you can do is get a nice clean tea towel, put it in the middle, take
up the corners and just spin it around. In that case and all the water will come off, and it’ll be great.
So let’s get your head around what makes a good salad, right, and it’s dead simple, right, you can vary it,
you can change it,
you can tweak it to however you like it, or whatever you like, and whatever is in season.
But let’s just start off with a basic
everyday salad here. I’m using a round lettuce. It’s one of the cheapest lettuces in the world, right, a little bit of radicchio,
slightly bitter, but it’s nice in contrast, and it’s good color. If you ever want to use herbs,
soft herbs are rock and roll. I’m using mint here. You could use
could use parsley, and there’s many other soft herbs you could use – dill, fennel,
tarragon, stuff like that. That’s going to give it a little bit of fragrance, a little bit of a kick.
Vegetables, right, of course there’s things like tomato and stuff like that,
but you don’t exactly have to just chunk it up or slice it up like you get it everywhere else.
A really cheap speed peeler like this means that you can get something as lovely as a cucumber and just slice it and you can just
make it look different and
interesting and exciting and it looks like something that a chef would do, even if you’re a rubbish cook So just by doing that,
I mean I don’t know any chefs, even the Japanese boys that can knock that out every single time – look at the thinness of that –
Right, you can do that, and it’s cheap.
fennel, celeriac, celery,
beetroots, any kind of nice, beautiful
sort of root veg that you think that will be good in a salad, have a go, but again the Speed Peeler – Brilliant -and
you know things like watercress here,
you know, they’re nice and peppery, and some of the endive here, or you could use the radicchio,
you know, they’re more sort of
mustardy, and bitter, and maybe just on its own you wouldn’t like it, but sort of lost amongst a mixed salad,
you know, it’s going to give it all sorts of different flavors, and it will really really work. And then also texture, right, crunch –
okay, and that can come in different forms, Here, I’ve got some pine nuts. I’ve got some different roasted seeds
They’re like sunflower seeds and bits and pieces like that,
stale bread, or croutons, as you want to call it -even, you know, taking an Indian Pappadum, and just like
Smashing it up. It’s all good. It’s all good stuff, and also dairy, you know, cheese –
you know, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, any blue cheese, parmesan – you name it, just about any cheese actually can work.
You can crumble it, slice it, grate it,
But you don’t have to do – basically what I’m saying to you is a salad does not and should not be boring.
Get different types of leaves, possibly an herb,
possibly a vegetable, possibly something crunchy like a seed or crouton or something, some dairy, and if you do any one
or two of those elements. it’s going to be rock and roll. It’s going to be delicious, but if I just ate that now –
Boring! And some of the good news is is, that
actually if you eat your salad in the presence of oil, and acid,
your body can digest more of the goodness from this so actually like it’s almost like we were supposed to have a salad dressing –
Do you know I mean? So I want to give you my basic, basic version of a salad dressing.
Basically I do three to one. So what I mean by that is I use a good olive oil.
I’m going to put in
three parts olive oil – to say that olive oil is
three parts, and then I’m going to use a – let’s say a vinegar here.
Let’s use a lemon juice alright. The acid can be balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar
champagne vinegar – it could be grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice, right, so acid can be in many different forms.
As soon as I put that lemon juice in you can see
exactly how much there is. That’s why I quite like using the Jam Jar, especially for beginner cooks.
You can see exactly how much is in there if you look in there now
that’s pretty much – that’s nearly two to one, actually, let me top that with a bit of oil
You can see the oil and the vinegar
Separating – that’s three to one
so you’re on a good way to a Dressing.
A nice pinch of pepper and a good pinch of salt. Now my advice to you on Dressings is
always make it just slightly too salty and
slightly too acidic, right, and the reason for that is when you put it on your salad and
Basically salad leaves is like 90-98 percent water, right, it’s going to knock it right back down to being bland again
So if you’re slightly too acidic, and salty by the time it’s knocked it down, It’s perfect, okay.
The other thing is that is your basic olive oil, and lemon juice dressing
And once you’ve shaked it
Actually BE bothered to taste it
Salt, lemon juice – that’s a good olive oil and lemon juice Dressing.
If I wanted to turn it into like a French style Dressing, you know, just by putting a nice
teaspoon of Dijon Mustard
like that, and maybe swap out lemon juice for red or white wine vinegar.
We’ll give it another shake
And you’ll have a nice thick French style Dressing
Different again, and of course if you wanted to lighten it with a little bit of yogurt
You can really do all of these things
so as long as you stick to three parts olive oil, one part acid, salt and pepper you can put things like mustard in or
Yogurt in or chopped herbs in or chopped chili in and you can kind of like vary your dressings which makes it exciting and fun
And it means that you can own your own Dressing.
But just to finish this basic salad all I want to do now is dress it.
The important thing about Dressing is you don’t want to overdress, if you overdress a
Salad it’s gonna be heavy, it’s going to – the acid will cook the salad leaves
and it will just be horrible, right and also you don’t want too much of this, alright?
So just a little bit of dressing in, use your fairy fingers, right, as you’re tossing it
just twinkle your fingers and the reason for that isn’t to sort of be silly, it’s to
beautifully quickcoat every single little piece that’s in that salad. Take yourself a nice bit of that salad and
Honestly, I mean that is a really humble salad. So good luck and remember
Salads aren’t for Nancys. Salads are cool. Good luck