How to Spruce Up Your Salads

IMG_1700It’s not easy being a salad. When was the last time you heard someone rave about a restaurant or event because of a salad they ate there? That’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is most likely never. Self proclaimed foodies’ and those who ‘live to eat’ pride themselves on the pleasurable experience that food brings them. They hold dining out at a restaurant to a high esteem and in most instances, will opt for the more exotic, satiating or fulfilling dining option, rather than the healthy one or the dish that has the lowest calorie count.

But not all hope is lost for salads. It turns out that being a foodie and a health nut is not mutually exclusive. Recently, there has been a growing trend to eat locally grown and seasonal produce. Several ‘farm to table’ restaurants have been popping up in major cities around the country. If that doesn’t have your diners convinced, we have come up with some suggestions that can elevate your salad up to must-have meal status.

Exotic and Unique Flavors

As we already mentioned, foodies are always looking for their next culinary adventure. If they are presented with a flavor profile that they are not familiar with, such as South East Asian or Middle Eastern, they will be more keen to try it. When creating your next salad, try out an unusual vegetable or include a bold spice in your dressing that will have your diners coming back for seconds.

Add a Protein

When you add a satiating element to your salad, the plate moves out of the side dish zone and into the main course category. The options for proteins are endless. For carnivores, include whichever kind of meat or poultry you think will best suit the dish. For pescetarians, there are a wide variety of fish and seafood that go great with salads. If the crowd is vegetarian, think about adding eggs or a savory type of cheese. Even vegans can get their fill with various grains, legumes and nuts which can turn a skimpy salad into a protein packed meal. Play around with the combinations until you find the right balance of vegetable and proteins.

Presentation

Eating is an experience that engages all of our senses. While taste is obviously the strongest and most engaged sense, prior to tasting a dish, we always see it with our eyes. Our sight is what helps us decide between multiple choices, without giving too much thought to what’s inside the dish. You can enhance presentation by using bright and eye-catching ingredients or one of the plates from PacknWood’s Cocktail and Event’s collection, a guaranteed way to impress your guests.

We decided to take our own advice and created this pan fried sea bream and papaya salad. The crispy skinned fish and strong, interesting flavors come together to create an unforgettable dish. We put all of it inside There is a medium wooden boat from the Bamboo Leaf collection.

What is your go to salad recipe? Let us know in the comments!

salad

Pan fried sea bream and papaya salad

Serves 6

  • ⅓ cup lemon or lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (refined or light brown)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems trimmed
  • 1 medium green papaya, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 scallions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 small thai chilies, thinly sliced
  • 3 sea bream fillets, halved, cleaned and de-boned
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix together the first 4 ingredients and adjust according to taste. Set aside.
  2. Using the largest setting on a box grater, grate the papaya to fill about 6 cups.
  3. Place the papaya in a bowl and add the tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and chile. Mix
  4. Season the sea bream fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a nonstick medium pan on high heat. Add the canola oil and let it heat up slightly. Place the fillets skin side down and fry the fish for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan to keep the skin from sticking. Cook until the skin is golden brown and the outer flesh begins to turn opaque.
  5. Flip over the fish and cook for an additional minute, until cooked all the way through.
  6. Set two tablespoons of the dressing aside and toss the remaining amount with papaya mixture. Divide equally among 6 wooden boat plates and place the fish filet on the salad, skin side up. Pour the remaining dressing equally over the fish.

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