Ever had a salad that’s simply boring? Sure, it’s got all the components- fresh greens, a decent dressing, and a slight tang....but it’s nothing to write home about.
Here at BKLYN Larder, we have a couple tricks in our back-pockets that we take out when developing a new salad for the store.
Tip Number One: When in salad-doubt, stick to the basics- delicious olive oil and vinegar. These two ingredients are the building blocks of your entire salad and provide the flavor palate for the rest of the dish. Make sure you’re using high quality, intentionally made oils & vinegars-- and that the tasting notes of the oil & vinegar match. Here are a few oil & vinegar pairings that you can rely on.
- Merula + Saba: Merula is made at the Perales de Valdueza estate, in the province of Badajoz, Spain. The olives are from the second harvest of the year; the extra time on the trees allow for distinctive buttery, fruity (green olives, cut grass, green almond, and dried fruit) notes. When using a fruity and buttery olive oil like the Merula, use a slightly sweeter and syrupy balsamic, like the Saba from San Giacomo. The Saba is made from only grape must- absolutely no water, coloring, etc, and has a wonderful raisiny, caramel flavor. The caramel notes of the Saba pairs perfectly with the slightly buttery notes in the Merula.
- Esporao + Giuseppe Giusti + Yuzu: When using a slightly bitter and spicy warm pepper olive oil like the Esporao, use a citrus-y vinegar like the Yuzu vinegar from Omed or a more aged balsamic, like the Giuseppe Giusti balsamic.
- Nunez de Pradao + Balsamela: The Nunez de Prado family has been producing olive oil in the hills of Baena, Spain for over seven generations. The olives are hand-picked and crushed in stone wheels. The resulting olive oil tastes of oranges, lemons, freshly cut grass, almonds and apples, with a smooth, sweet finish. It pairs perfectly with the Balsamela- an organic sweet Apple Balsamic vinegar from San Giacomo. The Balsamela is made from organic apple juice and organic apple vinegar that's been cooked over fire until caramelized, thick, and syrupy. The sweetness of the apples in the Balsamela brings out the flavors of citrus in the Nunez de Pradao olive oil.
Tip Number Two: Lacking an umami punch? Add cheese! The goat or blue cheese crumble has been done, and it’s definitely a good go-to. But we say, do more than a crumble. We’ve been into adding some thin, long shavings of a good, salty cheese- like a bianco sardo. Or adding in a classic, high-quality Pecorino, lightly grated over the top for a slightly salty and savory note. If you're looking to brighten the salad up, add little cubes of fresh feta. It'll add a pop of creaminess and tang to your dish.