Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Composed Salads--Cook-Off 12

Recommended Posts

Here's a salad that my girlfriend enjoyed in Lausanne, Switzerland last winter. It's more akin to the $20 salad but beautiful nonetheless:

Ingredients (or best guesses):

warm goat cheese


sesame seeds






tomato (3)

sunflower seeds


wheat berry

pumpkin seed

red pepper sauce

raspberry vinaigrette

olive paste

curry nut sauce

cardamon/qaram masala

marinated pear

mixed greens


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting to read this thread: I've never heard of "composed salad", so I'm learning something new. I made this before, though - does it qualify?


Layers of Parma ham, mozzarella, tomatoes, boiled eggs, roasted bell peppers. All the ingredients are so simple that they must be freshest, preferably organic. Including fresh herb, extra virgin olive oil vinaigrette.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dinner last night:


Carrots, lettuce, yellow pepper, cucumber, chicken that was marinated in a hoisin, soy, garlic, ginger, sesame mix and grilled, suey chow and sugar snaps. Dressing was hoisin, soy, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh garlic and ginger, ground peanuts and green onions. Tasty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if this counts as a composed salad or not - my husband thinks it is just a nice arrangement of vegetables. But this was served at room temperature and has an herb dressing on top. How do you draw the line between vegetable side dish and salad?


I'll have to try again next week for a real salad. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

For today's salad I used the leftovers from a tarragon roasted chicken.

Shredded chicken, mixed with mustard, mayo and more fresh tarragon. On some lettuce, together with hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, roast red onions, and crispy bacon. Because I felt like relaxed eating, where you just have a plate in front of you to finish, I made individual salads (sometimes even deciding what to pick up from a large platter can be too stressfull on a friday night :raz: )


Link to post
Share on other sites
I went traditional - Cobb Salad.  But as I was uploading my picture I shouted, "Damn I forgot the hard boiled eggs!!!"

Dude, you inspired me...

For some reason, what you said never registered with me -- but I DID notice that there were no hard-boiled eggs in your Cobb salad... I figured hey, maybe he doesn't like it. It's not as if you have to totally follow the recipe, anyhow. Right.

Then, as I sat there, it just dawned on me -- I forgot the blue freakin' cheese! Argh! I mean, the salad is fine without eggs I'm sure, but the cheese, that lovely blue cheese, that brings a LOT to it.


Oh well...


Link to post
Share on other sites

That Cobb Salad inspired me too - looks like the perfect end-of-winter salad for our family now in New Zealand!

As for dressings, I tend to dress each item or group of items separately and then arrange them, as I often don't want a huge pool of dressing on the bottom of the plate. A sparing drizzle to finish is all that's needed!

Conversely, I like the idea of putting the dressing down first and then layering over it. Would work well over a bed of hummus too....

Link to post
Share on other sites

The other night, we had Salad Nicoise


Several comments:

Chris, somewhere upthread, you mentioned an "unbalance" with the dressing. I use a dressing with lemon juice, not vinegar, on this particular salad, and dress the beans and potatoes while warm. Perhaps you should try this.

The salad was plated with the assistance of two boys, one 4 and one 9 years of ages.

I used olive oil packed tuna. I had one can and one packet that was one of those vaccuum packed packets. The vaccuum packed stuff was crap.

But, we enjoyed this salad. Eaten on the deck. Accompanied by cold beer and lemonade.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Chris, somewhere upthread, you mentioned an "unbalance" with the dressing.  I use a dressing with lemon juice, not vinegar, on this particular salad, and dress the beans and potatoes while warm.  Perhaps you should try this.

I've seen this tip before, and it really works, especially with the potatoes.

On another note, what do people think we should do for the next cook-off? Let's gather some good ideas here!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it should be something involving the remainder of the summer harvest, to use up tomatoes, zucchinis, etc.

How about some sort of stuffed fresh pasta thread? Like raviolis? Manicotti?

Or perhaps a slight return of Pizza, in Foccacia form?

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think it should be something involving the remainder of the summer harvest, to use up tomatoes, zucchinis, etc.

How about some sort of stuffed fresh pasta thread? Like raviolis? Manicotti?

Or perhaps a slight return of Pizza, in Foccacia form?

I've looked at the eGCI course on stuffed pastas but still not tried it. A stuffed pasta thread might be just the ticket for getting me off my duff to try it. Gets my vote.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to post
Share on other sites
How about some sort of stuffed fresh pasta thread? Like raviolis? Manicotti?

I've been thinking about fresh pasta as a cookoff.

Can I suggest gnocchi?

That's a good idea, too. I've never made homemade. :shock:

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd love it if we had a cook-off to help use up my tomatoes. I've got over a dozen monster sized tomatoes on my counter right now. Many more ripening. There's only so much tomato phyllo pizza one can make!

I just made two jars of sweet tomato chutney. Lasts for months and especially nice in the winter when you want something bright. I also make and freeze sauce. Basically I never met a tomato I didn't eat. :smile:

edit: how about a canning and pickling cookoff? I also just made eggplant pickles, but I need to do something with green beans.

*technically I participated in the salad cookoff, that's basically most of what we eat on summer worknights:

Tonight: roasted golden beet, wax bean, tomato, olive, goat cheese

Last week: Nicoise

Week before last: Spanish style: hard-boiled egg, roasted red pepper, olive, potato, tuna


Edited by Behemoth (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if we are still doing composed salads, but I'm going back there anyway. I think a green composed salad generally is a single serving spectacular so that each person can enjoy the artistry of the dish. If it is on a large platter, it will soon be destroyed.

Layered salads are those 7 layer type salads with all the ingredients on top of each other and served in a glass bowl so you can enjoy the different colors and textures -- generally another category. (Do you think a Cobb salad is a horizontal version of a layered salad?)

My favorite composed salad is a bed of Boston lettuce with a jumbo shrimp, a few beautifully steamed asparagus and quarters of small sized tomatoes. I think you are supposed to use a single dressing but I do mine separately -- a seafood sauce dressing with the shrimp and vinegar and olive oil with the rest.

Whatever you call them, these salads look delicious! Thanks for the great ideas.

Link to post
Share on other sites
My family loves salads but I have never been a big fan of them. So I don't make them nearly as often as they would like me too.  Here are a few that I have made in the past....


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites

Both stuffed pasta and gnocchi are great ideas for the next cook-off.

I'm making ravioli this week so stuffed pasta would suit me very well.. :biggrin:

but, I recently made some spinach gnocchi that turned out rather heavy, so it would be nice to learn how to make light and fluffy gnocchi. Also, I just love to say the word gnocchi and welcome any opportunity to say it as often as I can. Gnocchi.. :wub:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our sixth Cook-Off, we're going to be making pad thai. You've surely eaten this Thai restaurant staple dozens of times, marvelling at the sweet, sour, hot, and salty marriage on your plate. There are lots of variations of pad thai floating around the internet, including one by mamster at the eGCI Thai Cooking course. While there is one ingredient -- rice noodles -- that may be hard for some to find, most ingredients or substitutes are available at your local grocer. And, if you're new to Thai cooking, isn't now a good time to get your first bottle of fish sauce or block of tamarind?
      In addition to the course, here are a few threads to get us started:
      The excellent Thai cooking at home thread discusses pad thai in several spots.
      A brief thread on making pad thai, and one on vegetarian pad thai.
      For the adventurous, here is a thread on making fresh rice noodles.
      Finally, a few folks mention pad thai in the "Culinary Nemesis" thread. Fifi, snowangel, and Susan in FL all mention in the fried chicken thread that pad thai is also a culinary nemesis of theirs. So, in true cook-off style, hopefully we can all share some tips, insights, recipes, and photos of the results!
      I'll start by asking: does anyone know any good mail-order purveyors for folks who can't purchase rice noodles at their local Asian food store?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo.
      Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines.
      So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to eGullet Cook-Off XLIV! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      We've just devoted a Cook-Off to braised brisket, and we're turning again to moist, well-cooked proteins for our next adventure: ossobuco. You will see it spelled a number of different ways out there, but Marcella Hazan refers to it as one word in her definitive Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, so I'm going with that spelling. No reason to argue with Marcella, after all.
      Ossobuco is braised veal shank, named after the "bone with a hole" that used to be attached to the hind shank of a calf. (Let's all agree to stick to veal, and not have, say, halibut ossobuco. ) The classic Milanese version includes vegetables, tomatoes, wine, and broth, and is served with risotto alla milanese, perfumed with saffron, and with gremolada.
      Some of the versions out there are a bit wacky. In particular, The Silver Spoon Cookbook simmers the 2" thick shanks for 30 minutes atop the stove. Given that Hazan has 1 1/2" shanks in a 350F oven for two hours, I'm pretty sure the SSC is a waste of good veal. Indeed, I'd think that a much lower oven for longer would work wonders.
      There are more things to talk about here than just braising temps and times! For example, many other versions of ossobuco depart from the Milanese approach. In her out-of-print More Classic Italian Cooking, Hazan provides the recipe for Ossobuchi in Bianco, the white referring to a sauce lacking tomato. In The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, Giuliano Bugialli offers ossobuco Florentine style, with peas and pancetta, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Italian Country Table offers a home-style version with mushrooms, favas or snap peas, and more intense flavors such as anchovy, sage, and rosemary.
      We have one short discussion of ossobuco here, and an even shorter one on wine pairings here. Indeed, as is often the case with Italian food, the best discussion is the one shepherded by Kevin72, the Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia, which muses on on the dish's origins and execution throughout.
      I'm wondering a few things myself. Some folks say that braised veal cannot be reheated, unlike other dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. I'm also wondering what other sorts of sides -- polenta, say, or the Italian mashed potatoes that Hazan suggests for the ossobuchi in bianco -- would work and/or are traditional.
      So who wants to welcome the new year with some bones with holes?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen Indian lamb curry. Yes, it's true: that's a huge category for a cook-off, and saying "Indian" is about as stupidly broad as saying "American." However, like gumbo, there are some basic elements to most of the many, many permutations of this dish, and several cook-off participants wanted to start cooking Indian at home with several options.
      So, instead of choosing a specific lamb curry, I thought that having a conversation about those different permutations (like the gumbo okra/roux discussion, say) would be interesting and fun. I also wanted to avoid too particular ingredients that some of our cook-off pals can't get in certain places.
      A few things that we can discuss, photograph, and share include:
      -- the spice mixture: If you've never toasted your own spices, then you have a world of aromatic wonder ahead. I'm sure many people can share their ingredients, ratios, and toasting tips for curry powders that will blow away the garbage in your grocery's "spice" aisle. We can also have the ground vs. whole debate, if there are takers!
      -- the paste: many curry dishes involve frying a blended paste of onion, garlic, and/or ginger, along with the spices, in oil or ghee (clarified butter). I found that learning how to cook that paste -- which requires the same sort of patience demanded by roux -- was the key to making a deep, rich curry.
      -- accompaniments: rice dishes or bread (I have a pretty good naan recipe that I'd be glad to try out again).
      Here are a couple of related eGullet threads:
      lamb kangari
      a lamb and goat thread
      If anyone finds more, post 'em!
      So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our fourteenth Cook-Off, we're making bibimbap.

      Aficionados of Korean food and cooking are well aware of this famous dish, but many who have not had the pleasure might find this a surprising cook-off selection. Folks, I'm here to tell you that everyone should bring this remarkable dish into their repertoire.
      What is bibimbap, you ask? In a previous thread devoted to the subject, Jinmyo offered this typically inimitable explanation:
      True, some ingredients (the pickles known as kimchee and the red pepper paste known as gojuchang) may be a bit tricky for you to find, but we can summon up some possible substitutes. No special equipment is absolutely necessary, though if you have one of the stone or metal cook bowls known as dolsots, you'll want to use that. Like cassoulet, bibimbap inspires many debates about authenticity and regionalism, which means that the neophyte can experiment with great flexibility and still claim some amount of technical merit!
      Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is chock-a-block full of experts ready to share ideas and recipes for the various components of this dish, not only on the thread referenced above (click the little pink box in the quotation) but also here, here, and here, with a kimchee thread here and a kochuchang thread here. So turn on your rice cookers and get your beef a-marinating -- and if you have any soju handy, get it damned cold!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...