Monday, June 13, 2011

Insalata Mista

One of the clients last night was a vegetarian. We prepared a gorgeous meal for them including the Square Spaghetti with Zucchini Blossoms and Tomato. I was given what I originally thought was a simple task to make a salad. I was told which ingredients to use, and chopped them thinly as we do for another salad and the garnish. I quickly learned I was not making the Insalata Mista the way it is suppose to be. Chef Nino corrected me and taught me the right way to make a beautiful, fresh salad that even people who hate vegetables will enjoy. He constructs the salad on a platter before plating it, making sure each element is absolutely perfect. Using iceberg lettuce, raddichio (red cabbage), carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and fennel he contrasts flavors while also highlighting their innate flavors. He varies the textures, colors, and flavors. Each vegetable is distinct yet works with the others to highlight taste. All you need for dressing is salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. I'm a die hard fan of balsamic vinegar, but here it is unnecessary. Still a simple job, but done with so much sophistication you forget you are only eating a simple salad.

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