An Introduction to Salads and Salad Dressings – Part One

Caesar Salad

So, the wife and I love to cook.  I think that I’ve covered that in the past.  We have recipes from friends and family and what we’ve collected over the years.  I want to share what we have, and make it available as a whole to friends and family… and for that matter the whole world.  Like ’em or not they’re here.  I know that I planned to do this some time ago, but life just got in the way.  New job, new family, new home…  But I think that now is the time to start.  So, do I start with?  How ’bout a typed document that must be from, perhaps, the ’50s?  It comes from the Broward County Public Schools Adult and Vocational Education, and it’s two pages on salad.  Some is timeless, some is common sense.  Information from history…my how the times have changed…and so have tastes in salad dressings…

Supervised Food Service
Worker Home Catering No. 6

Adult and Vocational Education

Salad and Salad Dressings

While catering a buffet, either luncheon or dinner, salads play a big role.  Besides being good to eat they also can be varied.  Good and fancy looking they fill a buffet and plates economically.
Salads can be served as a main course and can be made from anything such as fowl, fish, fruits, and vegetables.  They can be served in the form of aspic or gelatin, frozen, hot or cold.
Salads are usually served with a salad dressing which is either mixed into, poured over, or in a side dish.
The three basic salad dressing are French, mayonnaise and boiled (cooked).  Innumerable variations can be made from these basic dressings.
Tossed salads are usually made of salad greens tossed in a large bowl preferably in front of the guest.  The dressing is added, either mixed or one ingredient after another, in order not to destroy the texture of the tender greens.
A “Chapon piece of French crusty bread” heavily rubbed with garlic imports a heavenly flavor to a tossed salad.
Fruit salad are usually arranged in a certain colorful order and pattern.  Because of their delicate consistency they are easily bruised.  The dressing either sweet or poignant is poured over or served on the side.
Frozen salads are made with two thirds mayonnaise and one third whipped cream.  The add fruit or vegetables and freeze.  It’s served frozen.
Gelatin Based Salads
Gelatin has some amazing properties.  When dissolved in a liquid and chilled it has the power to bind and hold the liquid to form a semi-rigid structure known as a gel.
Gelatin is obtained from collagen found in bones and skin of animals and fishes.
A medium amount of sugar increases the stiffness of the gel but a large amount of sugar retards gel formation and weakens it.
More gelatin is needed when vegetables or fruits which are acid are included in a salad.
Fresh pineapple and figs must be cooked before adding to a gelatin salad.
A gelatin solution should be cooled to below 100 degrees Fahrenheit before being placed in the refrigerator for better gelling action.
When chopped vegetables or fruits are to be distributed throughout salad, they must be added when the gelatin I a syrupy stage.  Otherwise they will float on the top or settle at the bottom.  If the gelatin is slightly firm the solids will remain where placed.

Home Catering
Recipe No. 1

Salad Dressings

Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar Dressing

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Caesar Dressing, a recipe reminiscent of ancient Rome... except it's from Mexico.
  • 23 eggs
  • 1 can anchovies, finely chopped
  • 13 oz. salt
  • 2 cups yellow mustard
  • 10 oz. freshly ground black pepper
  • 80 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped very fine and split in two
  • 1 gal vinegar
  • 5 gal vegetable oil
  • 4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a BIG container (note the amounts), mix the eggs, anchovies, salt, mustard, pepper, and first 40 cloves of garlic until well mixed and creamy.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well again, until creamy and well mixed.

There are others too.  You can find them here, and here.

Holy crap, that is a lot of dressing.  And what about vinaigrettes and all the others that you can find today?  I’ll find recipes for those too….

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