Ideally, salads belong to the first course of any meal. But treat them with a touch of creativity and you can pass them off as main course contenders. To help you beat the October heat with something light and healthy, here are some interesting salads from city restaurants.
Trend # 1: Molecular gastronomy-based salad
What: Salad of beetroot with goat cheese air on cardamom and coffee soil
Where: Ellipsis, Colaba
With every element on this platter screaming creativity, the dish is more than a mere appetiser. The plating boasts of three kinds of beets. While plain and pickled are heard of, the beetroot meringue is unique since it is cooked using molecular gastronomy. Here, fresh beet juice is treated with methylcellulose — a natural chemical that solidifies juice and gives it a crispy, crunchy texture. The dish comes topped with a cloud of lavender-infused goat cheese that is aerated and turned into edible air before it is perched on the beets. Since foam tastes lighter as compared to actual globs of chevré, airing brings out a faint sour flavour. The drama continues as all this is laid on a bed of coffee and cardamom soil, giving the salad a powdery feel.
Price: Rs 450
Trend # 2: Salad with more than one dressing
What: Salad of hearts of palm with tomato pistou
Where: Indigo, Colaba
This salad aims to create a cerebral dining experience. It stimulates the palate and engages the mind at the same time. Grilled bits of palm tree insides are served on a hotchpotch of staples — green leaves, mushrooms, olives and parmesan cheese. The muddle is well oiled and then perched on a creamy dressing of
grated garlic and parmesan. Since the sauce is spread at the bottom of the plate, it creates a sense of layering and gives structure to the otherwise chaotic presentation. For colour, there are cherry tomatoes, pre-rubbed with a fragrant pistou sauce. Pistou, a cold dressing made out of garlic, fresh basil and olive oil, has a familiar taste and gives these cherries a glistening shine. On popping, the tomatoes ooze sour and cold juices that blend well with the grassy tinge of salad leaves.
Price: Rs 585
Trend # 3: Use of micro-greens
What: Salad of mesclun greens, blue cheese and green apple
Where: 022, Trident Bandra Kurla, Bandra Kurla Complex
Miniature greens are slowly taking over from large lettuce leaves. This salad uses baby leaves of lettuce such as lollorosso, arugula, rocket and iceberg. According to the chef, since smaller shoots are packed with more flavour and less fibre or leafy stalk, they work better than the mother leaves. The salad also bursts with an array of flavours from thinly sliced green apples, seedless dates and a sprinkling of potent blue cheese crumbs. For dressing, the restaurant sticks to a basic vinaigrette of olive oil and lemon juice. Punctuated with pieces of chopped walnut and celery, the salad has a nutty bite and ranks high on our health meter.
Price: Rs 600
Trend # 4: Hot salad
What: Baked brie salad
Where: Café at NCPA, Nariman Point
If you thought salads were to be served cold, you are in for a surprise. At this airy café, the baked brie cheese salad can make your tongue prickle.
A large disc of brie is baked in a hot oven until it achieves a creamy, cheese spread-like consistency. It is crowned with a generous sprinkling of roasted pistachios and drizzled with warm brown dressing.
The dish essentially relies on the classic combination of cheese, nuts and grapes. While the first two ingredients are served in their crude form, the grape element comes from a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Price: Rs 475
Trend # 5: Fruit and cheese-based salad
What: Salad of watermelon and feta
Where: The Tasting Room, Lower Parel
What is better than a juicy slab of watermelon? It is a juicy slab of deseeded watermelon. This dish is built on a leafy base of arugula leaves tossed in a mint vinaigrette. It is layered with alternate slices of watermelon and crumbly feta cheese and banks on balancing the sweet nature of watermelon with the feta’s saltiness. The pile is drizzled with a dash of balsamic vinegar that lends a rich, acidic sweetness to the salad. Had it not been for the sprinkling of local pine nuts, the salad would have missed out on some crunch.
Price: Rs 375
Salad at your doorstep
To get salad essentials home delivered, log on to www.gourmetco.in. The Mumbai-based online store puts together a hamper that comes brimming with an array of ingredients required to toss a delish salad at home. From no-nonsense salad spinners and tongs to exotic foods such as walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, tabouleh, sumac spice and Himalayan pink salt — they stock it all. The company offers cash on delivery and supplies across the country.