A composed salad of avocado and orange. The recipe is below (photo © Foods & Wines From Spain).
 A composed salad recipe of vegetables and chickpeas. “Composed” means that the ingredients have been arranged individually in an attractive composition (photo © Anna Pelzer | Unsplash).
 This composed salad is not as perfectly composed—the ingredients are not as neatly placed. But it’s still a composed, as opposed to tossed, salad (photo © Nadine Primeau | Unsplash).
 A composed fruit salad, for breakfast or dessert (photo © Trang Doan | Pexels).
 A tossed salad of spinach, strawberries, spearmint, and goat cheese (photo © Doville Ramoskaite | Unsplash).
 A tossed salad of mixed lettuces, tomatoes, grilled shrimp, and blueberries (photo © Taylor Kiser | Unsplash).
 A tomato and peach tossed salad with white cheddar curds (photo © Adam Bartoszewicz | Unsplash).
May is National Salad Month…a time to explore new recipes, as attached as you may be to your current ones. There are many types of salads, the major categories of which are:
Pasta, grain, and legume salads
Mixed salads—eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, tofu combined with vegetables
Vegetable salads—beet, carrot, tomato, etc.
Most salads are traditionally served cold, although some, including grain and vegetable salads, can be served warm or hot.
Salads can be served as appetizers/first courses, entrées, sides, and desserts. Dessert salads can be sweetened, molded, or even frozen, and can be combined with fruit gelatin, whipped cream, or sour cream.
Salads can be composed (photos #1, #2, #3, #4) or tossed (photos #5, #6, #7).
Composed salads are arranged in a composition, or layered in a bowl or an individual glass dish or jar.
Tossed salads are usually greens and other bite-size vegetables and garnishes.
Check below for a delicious avocado and orange composed salad recipe (photo #1). You’ll also find a template for the perfect vinaigrette. But first:
THE STRUCTURE OF A SALAD
Culinary students learn that the structure of a salad includes the Base, Body, Dressing and Garnish. Thanks to the Utah Education Network for this information.
The base: In a green salad, this comprises the greens plus any tomatoes and other vegetables.
The body: This is the protein added to the salad—chicken, ham, salmon, shrimp, tuna, etc.
The dressing: Dressings fall into two categories: vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, and seasonings) and mayonnaise-based dressing (a creamy, thicker emulsion of oil, vinegar, egg yolk, and seasoning).
The garnish: The garnish is any food used to enhance the salad: cheese (cubed, crottin, grated/shaved, sliced, etc., fresh or dried fruits, herbs, nuts, olives, etc.
The earliest salads were wild greens and herbs seasoned with salt. They represented the first vegetables to become available in the spring in northern climes, a refreshing repast after the winter diet of roots, tubers, nuts, seeds, and meat or fish, but no fresh greens or fruits [source].
RECIPE #1: AVOCADO & ORANGE SALAD
You can use a standard navel orange, but the visual and palate appeal of cara cara oranges and blood oranges gives the recipe an added lift. You can also substitute red grapefruit.
Thanks to Food & Wines From Spain for the recipe (photo #1).
For a wine pairing, wine specialist Adrienne Smith suggests Malvasia.
“There is something about a young and aromatic, dry Malvasía wine made in the Canary Islands that goes well with just about anything,” she says.
“Delicate enough to not overpower the avocado, but at the same time bold enough to match the acidity of the oranges, these wines from areas like Lanzarote* are hard to beat.”
Prep time is 30 minutes or less.
> The history of the avocado.
> The history of the orange.
> The history of blood oranges.
> The history of cara cara oranges.
3 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 avocado, ripe but firm enough to slice
Garnish: chopped parsley
Optional: sliced red onion
Ingredients For 1 Large Or 2 Small Servings
1. PREPARE the oranges. Slice off the tops and bottoms and then cut off the peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Next, holding each orange over a sieve placed on top of a bowl to catch the juice, cut along the membranes to release each segment. Squeeze out any juice from the pulp and discard.
2. MAKE the dressing. Place the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper into a jar and emulsify using a hand-held stick blender. Alternatively, shake the mixture in a screw-topped jar. Add the reserved orange juice and mix again. When ready to serve:
3. HALVE the avocado, remove the stone and peel off the skin. Cut the flesh crossways into slices. Place the greens on the plate, arrange the avocado slices and orange segments on top and drizzle the dressing. Garnish with parsley and red onion as desired.
Combine crisp textures with soft textures for contrast. Store lettuces in a plastic bag. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.
>Keep washed and drained greens wrapped in a dry paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic container or a large plastic bag.
To prevent browning after cutting, tear the greens instead of using a metal knife. Tearing adds more texture, metal can cause browning at the edges of the vegetabled.
Wilted greens can be restored by placing them in ice water for a few hours.
Prepare the salad dressing 2-3 hours before serving, and chill it. Do not put the dressing on a salad or salt it until just before serving.
RECIPE #2: THE PERFECT VINAIGRETTE
Vinaigrette is an emulsion of oil, vinegar, and seasoning. The seasoning can be as simple as salt and pepper but can have added citrus zest, fruits (puréed), herbs (including prepared herbs, like horseradish and wasabi), mustard, and spices.
The classic formula for a vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. The acid is typically vinegar but can be citrus juice, or a combination of both.
Oil. Any culinary oil can be used. Olive oil is standard, but less expensive oils such as canola, corn, grapeseed, and sunflower can be substituted.
Nut oils are especially delicious, as is sesame oil. If using dark sesame oil, which is very strong, you should blend it with olive oil or one of the other mild oils.
Vinegar. Any kind of vinegar works, from apple cider to balsamic to red or white wine to rice vinegar. Check out the different types of vinegar.
Seasonings. If using mustard or puréed fruit, you can substitute it for a portion of the acid. It can be just a hint, e.g. 1/8 teaspoon, or a full-out Dijon mustard or strawberry vinaigrette, made by substituting 1/3 of the vinegar/acid.
You can also substitute citrus juice (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, yuzu) for 1/3 to 100% of the vinegar.
*Lanzarote is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Protegida (D.O.P. for wines. It encompasses the entire island of Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands. The Canaries are a Spanish region and archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in Macaronesia. At their closest point to the African mainland, they are 62 miles west of Morocco.