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Serving Food Attractively: Salads
A beautiful garnish can be lost on a salad that does not meet certain standards. Whether a salad is classified as an appetizer, an entree, accompaniment, or dessert, or whether it is served individually, on a large buffet tray or in the salad bowl, the same general rules hold for all.
All uncooked materials must be crisp, cold, and free from excess moisture. They should be artfully blended and served on chilled plates.
Salad greens must be fresh, crisp, and pleasing to the eye. Accent light greens with dark parsley, watercress, mint leaves, or other suitable edible greens. For variety, dip edges of leaves in paprika.
Use materials that produce a contrast in texture, flavor, and color.
Arrange the salad attractively with some definite pattern in mind.
Garnishes should be gay and appetizing, though simple and not overworked. They are usually a part of the salad. In general, use small garnishes for individual salads and large garnishes for the buffet salad tray or salad bowl. Do not over garnish!
APPLES, Balls: Scoop balls from firm apples with a French fruit or vegetable cutter. Place balls in a water or sugar solution colored with pure fruit coloring. When the desired tint is obtained, remove balls from liquid, drain, and dry well. Arrange in groups on salad greens, with or without the use of toothpicks.
Variation: Dip apple balls in pineapple juice, then drain. Insert a toothpick in each ball. When balls are dry, paint each one with a paintbrush, using pure fruit coloring. Vary the color combinations and designs.
Cups: Use red- or yellow-skinned unpeeled apples. When using small apples, cut slice from blossom end, scoop out pulp, and scallop edges with a sharp knife. Dip in pineapple juice, drain, dry edges, then dip edges in powdered sugar, if desired. Fill with any of the following: Fresh Fruits in Season: Blueberries, cranberries (whole cooked fruit or molded jelly cut in shapes), currants, ground cherries, strawberries.
Canned Fruit: Whole small fruit, or large fruit, diced. Dressing: Serve with spoon carved from carrot or cucumber.
Arrange the apple cups on a bed of greens around a salad, use singly at center of interest, or in groups, depending upon size of salad tray and type of salad.
When using large apples, follow direction for apple cups in meat section. Fill with any fruit or salad combination desired.
Rings: Cut red- or yellow-skinned cooking apples into 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices. Tint red, green, or yellow by allowing slices to stand in syrup solution colored with fruit coloring.
For mint flavor, add a drop of For cinnamon flavor, add a oil of peppermint to syrup. piece of stick cinnamon to syrup.
TOP APPLE RINGS WITH: Red or green candied cherries Maraschino cherries used in used whole, halved, or in the same way as candied sections to form petals. cherries. Dates cut in strips or stuffed Raisins. and sliced.
Strips: Cut apples into match like strips, then place in water or syrup solution colored with fruit coloring. When tinted, remove from liquid, drain, and dry. Arrange assorted colors in interesting groups on salad greens. Serve immediately.
APRICOTS: Cut fresh or canned apricots in sections to form petals. Arrange in design on salad with or without mint leaves. Use a slice of date or large raisin for center of flower. Fill canned or fresh apricot halves with small fruit in season, such as blackberries, blueberries, currants, dewberries, gooseberries, grapes, loganberries, strawberries, or thimbleberries.
Arrange as a border or place in groups on large salad tray.
Use apricot halves with the cut surface down. Cut blanched almonds into match like strips, then insert in outer surface of apricot halves. These are effective in deep greens. Fill apricot halves with shredded coconut or walnut halves.
AVOCADOS: Cut one slice from the blossom end of the fruit. Remove seed; fill with a tart fruit gelatin mixture of contrasting color. Replace slice and chill until firm. Slice about 1 inch thick, then cut each slice into six or eight segments, depending upon size of fruit. Arrange around salad with the point of each segment facing the outer rim of the plate.
BANANAS: Score a peeled banana by drawing the prongs of a fork lengthwise down the outer surface. Slice crosswise or at an angle. Dip in pineapple juice, drain, then dip outer edge of banana in chopped mint leaves or chopped parsley. Place in flat or upright position, petal fashion, on slice of orange.
BERRIES: Arrange clusters of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, boysenberries, loganberries, or dewberries at center of interest on individual or general salad. Use strawberries, with or without hulls, singly or in clusters. Scatter sliced strawberries over fruit salad. Arrange clusters of gooseberries or currants on top of melon-ball salad.
CHERRIES: Use candied, maraschino, or mint cherries. Candied and maraschino cherries may be obtained in either red or green colors, with or without stems.
Top salads with a whole, half, or a slice of cherry. Use singly or in groups to form design.
Cut cherry into petals, and arrange in flower design on top or at side of salad. Use sprig of mint or citron to form stem and leaves. A cluster of three cherry flowers without stems and leaves makes an attractive garnish.
Cut cherries in eighths and use segments to form dividing line between grapefruit sections placed close to each other in salad.
Insert small end of a whole blanched, toasted, and salted almond in cherry cavity. Use one or more as needed for proper balance on salad.
Cherry flower. See directions for cherries in appetizer section.
Bing cherries are effective used singly or in groups, or in cavity of larger fruits, such as pears, peaches, or in center of pineapple ring.
CRANBERRIES: Place cranberry bouquets at base of salad on large tray. See directions for making bouquet appetizers in appetizer section, using cranberries on toothpicks.
Top salads with bells, stars, or other shapes cut from cranberry jelly.
DATES: Stuff dates with cream cheese, peanut butter, or nut meats. Use whole or sliced. Slices of cheese-filled dates may be overlapped to form a circle or other geometric design.
Cut dates in lengthwise strips and arrange petal fashion on slice of pineapple or combination fruit salad. Use a small round of candied orange peel for the center of the flower.
FIGS: Cut pressed figs into tiny pieces with a scissors, then sprinkle lightly over center of salad; or make a solid border near base of salad. Arrange strips of pressed figs around a colored gumdrop on a light-colored salad.
GRAPEFRUIT, Cups: Trace a 1/2 -inch band circling the middle portions of a whole grapefruit. Then trace rounded scallops within this band. Cut scallops through to center of fruit. When all lines have been cut, separate fruit into two scalloped cups. Scoop out the pulp. Punch each scallop with a paper punch to give a lacy effect, or use a fruit cutter (a special gadget which punches and cuts grapefruit or other peel into lacy scallops in one operation). Fill the cups with melon balls or cubed fresh or canned fruit, or small whole fruits in season. Place on galax leaves or other greens. Insert a sprig or two of mint near rim of cup.
Baskets: For directions for orange baskets, see Index. Fill with fruit or vegetable combination salad.
Bow: Cut a slice of grapefruit 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide crosswise through middle section of fruit. Remove the pulp carefully so that the peel will stay intact. Bring the two sides of the peel together to form a bow and fasten with a tiny piece of tooth pick and greens, or a strip of pimiento. Place bow over salad in grapefruit bowl or arrange on large general salad. A maraschino cherry may be placed on each side of the center of the bow to lend color and interest to the garnish.
Sections: Arrange with clusters of Bing cherries on tossed green or molded salad.
Cubes: Combine grapefruit cubes or wedges with fruit gelatin cubes of contrasting color. Place in nests of shredded lettuce as a border around salad.
GRAPES, Frosted: For directions, see Helpful Hints in section on general directions. Place frosted grapes on bed of greens next to a molded colorful gelatin salad.
Colored Grapes: Small green, red, or orange grapes are available in bottles. Arrange in design or in clusters with or without mint leaves.
Remove stems from fresh assorted grapes; place in nests of shredded lettuce, endive, or watercress. Small nests about 1 1/2 inches in diameter are suitable for individual salads.
Cut grapes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, arrange petal fashion on top or at sides of combination fruit salad or molded salad.
Place canned pear half on a bed of watercress. Frost surface of pear with cream cheese or smooth cottage cheese. Completely cover the cheese frosting with grapes cut in half lengthwise and seeded, so that the pear will resemble a bunch of grapes.
KUMQUATS: Use fresh whole kumquats either singly or in groups of 3 near base of salad among the greens.
Cut a slice from one end of a kumquat, remove some of the pulp, and stuff with tinted coconut. Arrange as a border around salad.
Cut a slice from one end of kumquat, remove pulp, and fill with green or red fruit gelatin. Chill until firm; cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick, then cut each slice into wedges, starting from the center and cutting down to but not through the rind except in one place. Take one end of rind and gently form a circle with rind on the inside and the points of the wedges extending outward like a diadem.
Overlap slices of kumquats in groups of three or five on molded salads or in salad greens.
LEMONS OR LIMES, Baskets: See directions for lemons in meat section. Fill with any small fruit in season, and use with a salad of contrasting color. Lemon or lime cups or baskets filled with melon balls and mint leaves make attractive garnishes.
MELONS: Scoop balls from watermelon, muskmelon, or honeydew melon with a French ball cutter. Alternate in groups of 3 or 5 in greens as a border around a large general salad. For variety, mix different melon balls in each group.
Tint honeydew melon balls orange, red, or green to suit color scheme, or paint them with a paintbrush and pure fruit coloring. Place in nests of shredded lettuce to resemble Easter eggs. The melon balls may also be attached to toothpicks and inserted in sides of salad in some definite design.
Cube melon; combine with fresh blueberries and serve in lemon cups.
Use peeled or unpeeled honeydew or muskmelon. Cut a slice from one end; scoop out seeds and membrane. Fill with fruit or vegetable gelatin of contrasting color. Make gelatin a little stiffer than usual. Replace top slice and chill melon until gelatin is firm. If peeled melon has been used, score with a fluting knife before cutting slices or frost with softened cream cheese or cream cottage cheese. When firm, cut in slices. If slices are small, use whole; if large, cut in wedges and arrange as border around a general salad.
OLIVES: Garnish salads with whole olives, used singly or in groups.
Cut stuffed olives into slices and arrange in design.
Cut a whole olive into sections, being careful not to cut through the base of the olive. Gently remove the stone and place cup-shaped flower on salad. Place a piece of cheese in the center, or fill with pimiento, tinted cream cheese, or mayonnaise forced through a pastry tube. This garnish resembles a water lily. A group arranged on a light-colored salad is very effective.
Remove pimiento from stuffed olive; insert blanched salted almond.
ORANGES: Baskets and Cups Follow directions for lemons in meat section. Fill with melon balls or small fruit in season and arrange on large salad trays. These fruit cups are suitable containers for many individual combination salads.
Slices: Top orange slices with whole nut meats or with white grapes and a sprig of mint. Candied Peel Orange, lemon, or grapefruit peel may be candied in the following way. Cut the peel into quarters, then into slices about 1 inch wide. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil; cook about 3 minutes. Drain; add cold water to cover, and cook another 3 minutes. Repeat a third time. Measure peel; add an equal amount of sugar. Cook until very thick. While hot, sprinkle with sugar. If available, use green, red, orange, or blue sugar. For colored peel, add a few drops of fruit or vegetable coloring while peel is cooking. The peel may be chopped or cut into strips or flowers.
Pickled Peel: Cook rind as for candied peel, then drain. Boil together 4 cups sugar, 2 cups vinegar, and 2 tablespoons pickling spices for 5 minutes. Add peel; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/4 hours. This amount will make 3 pints of pickled peel that can be used as needed. Stud with whole cloves and place on salad.
Stuffed Oranges: Boil whole seedless oranges until quite tender; cool, then cut in half. Scoop out some of the pulp and fill with a mixture of chopped nuts, crystallized ginger, and candied cherries. If necessary, add sugar to sweeten. Place orange halves in a shallow pan and pour 1 cup of syrup over them. (To make the syrup, boil 1 cup sugar with 3/4 cup water for 10 minutes.) Glaze in a hot oven. Top with maraschino cherry and serve as a garnish on large salad trays. Trace a 5-petaled flower on the peel of an orange with the stem end as the base of the flower. Peel the orange, cutting the petals three fourths of the way down. Remove the pulp; cube and mix with other fruit in season. Fill the petal-shaped orange basket with the fruit salad and arrange on a bed of greens. Top with two or three mint leaves.
PEACHES: Fill canned peach halves with spiced whole cranberries, cranberry jelly, cottage cheese, cheese balls rolled in chopped parsley or nut meats, Bing cherries, blueberries, or other small fruit in season.
Place peach halves upside down in greens on salad tray. Stud with whole cloves in a definite design. Letters and numbers may be formed in this manner.
Remove stone from whole spiced peach and fill cavity with creamed cottage cheese, either plain or mixed with small pieces of dates or chopped chives. Place on top of a slice of pineapple, round side up, or on a flat gelatin mold. Use gumdrops to form eyes, nose, and mouth, or cloves for the eyes and a section of maraschino cherry for the mouth. If candy is used, attach each piece to a small piece of toothpick and insert into the peach. To make a clown for Halloween, use a long gumdrop for the mouth with a molded cream cheese tooth here and there. Pipe a collar around the neck with yellow-tinted cream cheese. Put black dots on the collar, using bits of black gumdrop, a pressed fig on the peach head for the brim of the hat, and a half marshmallow for the crown. If desired, the crown may be decorated with slivers of gumdrops.