My search for the perfect salad
Simple, wholesome leaves or a brass band made of food? These days a salad can mean almost anything – except dieting
I had a conversation once with the very urbane chef and pioneer of the contemporary British scene, Rowley Leigh. He didn’t understand salads, he said, now that people had started putting things like meat in them. I disagreed: it is wonderful to find meat in a salad, a windfall, a gift from the universe, like putting your winter coat on for the first time that season and finding a tenner.
Anyway, I only name-drop because salad is quite an interesting waypoint in the evolution of cuisine: there is a purist old guard who can innovate like crazy within a dish, but likes to maintain categories as they have always been – salads with the emphasis on “side”, centrepiece dishes rather than small plates. And then there is a modern wave, which likes to throw everything into the same dish, so anything can be a salad, so long as it’s not hot. And even if it is, they will sometimes call it a “warm salad”. I can see the merit in both sides, but am going to come down on the second.Continue reading...