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Bland Salad, How would you have fixed it?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I made a salad tonight that had cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and fresh mint. The dressing was: yogurt, fresh mint, cucumber and honey all pureed together. It looked beautiful -the green and red and specs of mint...but it was bland and lacking in flavor.

So what would you have done to make it more delicious is my first question. My next question is, Ive got a lot of the dressing left over, is there anything I can add to give it more flavor? What about mustard?
post #2 of 25
A little salt, a little pepper.

No, I'm not kidding. It could be that simple. Salt brings out the flavor in other foods, and pepper always adds a nice little zing.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 25
Agreed... salt EVERYTHING, and I mean pretty much everything.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #4 of 25
Agree about salt and pepper as well. With anything savory, always, always, always.

A salt alternative that works very well in salads is minced or mashed anchovy. No, it doesn't taste "fishy," it's salt with "fundament," and it will add roundness, bottom and that certain j'nais c'est quois. No kidding. A couple of mashed fillets is about right for four servings. You can use it with or instead of salt. They're not mutually exclusive. In the case of your salad, I'd lightly salt the vegetables; and use mix mashed anchovies into the yogurt to make the dressing -- then grind a turn or two of fresh pepper over the top.

Also, that particular salad cries out for some sort of onion -- minced red onion, minced shallot, scallion tops, chives, garlic chives, Mexican onion tops, or... Can't you hear it?

Shhhh. Listen closely. ["An onion, an onion. For the love of God, an onion."]

There you go,
BDL
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #5 of 25
Onion, balsamic vinegar and/or fish sauce.
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #6 of 25
Yeah, all of the above. Plus, if you still need to kick it up, dry roast then grind a little cumin seed and mix it into the dressing.

I especially second BDL's suggestion of anchovy. Many of us older types tend to eschew anchovies---perhaps rememberance of those whole filets dotting the pizza (ugh). But it's an incredible addition to many dishes. As he points out, anchovy is a salt element, not a fish flavor. It is, indeed, what gives Worchestershire Sauce (and, for that matter, Ceasar Salad) its special flavor.

One other thing, regarding your use of cucumber in the dressing. If, as appears, you didn't salt and drain the cukes first, the dressing is likely to be on the watery side this morning.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 25
Agreed on the cukes... especially if you don't drain your yogurt as well.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #8 of 25
Totally agree on all the above. When I use fresh mint, I like to add a wee bit of dried too. Even a teeny weeny dash of mint sauce can lift it.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #9 of 25
Hi LeChefette.
Welcome!
:)

For the dressing, how about adding a little bit of lemon juice (and a bit of zest), olive oil, salt (or anchovy) and pepper.

You can also take your cucumber, tomato, avocado and fresh mint...add some red onion, salt and pepper to the mixture and use this to top some baby spinach. then dress.

dan
post #10 of 25
Lots of salt on the cucumbers, let them rest and drain the water. Marinate the avocado in lime or lemon, and freshly finely ground black pepper.
post #11 of 25
Bacon crumbles?

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 25
Mmmm bacon. Everything tastes better with bacon... plus all the above
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #13 of 25
Maybe some type of cheese? Feta crumbles, shaved parmesan, goat cheese. Everything's better with a little cheese.
post #14 of 25
Non-pareil capers would bring some salt and zing to the party. You could also drain the yogurt, mint included, until it is the consistency of feta and break it over the salad when serving to add a little more of the mint flavor to the party.

In case you didn't know, you'll need a pot, a sieve, a cheese cloth, and something heavy and small. let it drain in the fridge over night and then add weight for another few hours to press out the remaining excess moisture until you get the consistency that you want.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #15 of 25
Bacon fixes everything, almost.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #16 of 25
You can even make vinaigrette with the fat rendered from crisping the bacon (instead of oil)! Good stuff when using bacon in the salad.
post #17 of 25
Put my vote on some sort of onion as well. How about something crunchier? Peanuts? Pine nuts? Pepitas?
post #18 of 25
GARLIC red onion and garlic!
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #19 of 25
You could also drain the yogurt, mint included, until it is the consistency of feta

That's a technique I've been using for years, thanks to the Frugal Gourmet of (sort of) revered memory. To make the process a little simpler, you can use a paper towel to line the strainer, instead of cheesecloth. Works just as well.

Mike :smoking:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #20 of 25
I agree with a lot of what was said above salt, a vinegar or acidic punch, minced anchovies or capers were my first thought. Also try drinking a Mojito with the dish, a separate component can make a meal seem more rounded:thumb:
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #21 of 25
I learned it from an Indian chef I knew a few years back.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #22 of 25
I like cashew pieces, and sometimes candied pecans.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Great suggestions everyone! Thanks!
post #24 of 25
it's called yogo cheese or labneh.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #25 of 25
I did not know that. Thanks.:thumb:
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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