A composed salad offers the cook something similar to a blank canvas. The possible ingredient list is nearly endless, making it ideal for showcasing the garden harvest or the freshest in-season produce from the market. It is commonly served cold and can contain a mixture of cooked and raw vegetables, meat or fish, eggs, and anything else that appeals. Not only is the composed salad a change for the cook to explore creative arrangement, it is a low-fat meal packed with nutritious vegetables and healthy protein sources.
The term "composed salad" comes from the French term salade composée. It is a term used for an assortment of cold vegetables, either raw or cooked. An example could be raw cucumber, steamed chilled asparagus and boiled cold potatoes. Meat, fish or other protein source can be added, such as grilled salmon, cold shrimp, hard boiled eggs or sliced roast beaf. The ingredients are arranged on a large plate and then lightly drizzled in oil and vinegar or a vinaigrette dressing.
One of the benefits of serving a composed salad is the freedom to create. The cook can select a variety of ingredients with complementing or contrasting colors to create an appealing visual display. Red chilled beets, dark green asparagus, creamy white eggs, grilled pink salmon, and a medley of colorful sweet peppers are just a few of the possible ingredients.
When preparing a meal for guests, an artfully arranged composed salad can be an impressive sight. The cook can select from a variety of different ingredients to create a balance of color, flavor, shapes and sizes. Guests enjoy an artful arrangement, but eating beautiful food can be fun alone or just with family and close friends.
The composed salad gives the cook a palette on which to display in-season vegetables from the garden or the local market. Keeping the ingredients whole or sliced makes them recognizable in a composed salad, rather than all chopped up as in a traditional salad. Given the freedom of ingredient choices, the cook can also choose to include in-season fruits or seafood.
Consuming a plate of vegetables, lean meats and eggs is a healthy way to eat. Not only is a composed salad a chance to explore creativity, it is a way to serve a lean meal with lots of nutrition. This healthy salad alternative is also a quick way to serve a meal with on-hand ingredients without a lot of cooking time.