Great salad flavor: It's all in the dressing

Published: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 3:14 p.m. CDT

There are many types of salads, with a vast array of textures, flavors, ethnicities, aromas and on and on. The most common salad in the American culinary scene is the green leafy salad. Even within this category the varieties seem to be endless.

Much of what you enjoy in a salad comes from your upbringing and the dining adventures you seek as an adult. Many people partake in salads as a method to minimize calories and maximize nutrition.

However, many salads have a great abundance of calories. One source of calories would be the salad dressing. Not only the dressing itself, but the way it is incorporated. My preferred method is tossing the greens with the dressing. This gives you the advantage of maximizing flavor for the least amount of dressing. Therefore the least amount of calories from the fat of the dressing, even if it is good fat, like extra virgin olive oil.

Simply place all of your greens into a large bowl. Add about 1½ Tbl of dressing per person and toss well. Evenly coat the greens with the dressing.

As I mentioned, start with 1½ Tbl dressing per person and go up or down from there depending upon your own personal tastes.

Remember, it’s easy to spruce this salad up with 3 to 4 ounces of cooked chicken breast per person. You can also buy the bagged salad greens that already have some veggies in them like carrots. It is your choice.

Mandarin Orange Salad

Serves 4

Dressing

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbl red wine vinegar

1 Tbl sugar

½ tsp hot sauce, like Tabasco

½ tsp salt

A few turns of fresh ground black pepper

Salad

14 to 16 oz bagged salad greens

3 green onions, chopped

1 11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained

¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Whisk dressing ingredients very well. Place greens in a large bowl and start with 1/3 cup of dressing and toss to coat evenly. Divide onto 4 plates and top with the mandarin oranges, chopped green onion and toasted slivered almonds. Enjoy!

Look for Chef Darrel’s blog on the website of our sister paper, Daily-Chronicle.com. Anyone with questions or comments for Chef Darrel is welcome to call him at 630-235-0672.

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