Salads, Vinaigrettes and Olive Oils – Day 10

TODAY’S TIDBITS

  • Always dry your salad ingredients prior to tossing, or the dressing won’t grip and will run off the leaf onto the plate. The water will also dilute the carefully balanced vinaigrette.
  • The word vinegar = sour wine (vin aigre). Most vinegar is made by fermenting wine.
  • You should be able to eat a salad only with a fork (no knife), so leaves must be cut/sized accordingly
  • When boiling eggs, add vinegar which will help seal any cracks, add salt to make it easy to peel, and if you shock with ice, it will alter the inner lining making it super easy to peel. The greenish colour in a hard boiled yolk is sulfur and means you’ve over-cooked it (and gives an off flavor). 10 minutes from the counter, 12 minutes from the fridge!
  • Canola comes from Canada – hence the “Can” + “ola” for oil. Created by the University of Manitoba, it’s made from rapeseed, but they opted for a less offensive word, so they made up “Canola”.
Miyako assembling the salad
Miyako assembling the salad
Check Nic critiques Tim and Terrence's creation
Chef Nic critiques Tim and Terrence’s creation

SALAD DAY: Chef Nicolay filled in for Chef Veronica today, and thankfully maintained the calm atmosphere of yesterday. Chef Nic (from the Ukraine) owned Bistro Bichon in Greenwich Village, so it was fun getting his take on things. Today was salad day, so not super-exciting, but the salads looked beautiful and were wonderful to eat. We started with a Cooked Vegetable Salad (pictured above), which involved carefully cutting carrots, turnips, and beans into ‘macedoine’ squares with peas, combining in a homemade mayo, served in a tower, topped by a tomato fondue (sauce), over ‘mandolinned’ cucumbers. Our pea to veggie ratio was a bit off, but the rest was great. The green drizzle is pureed basil with oil, also thrown in the mayo.

 

 

Voila! Salade Nicoise!
Voila! Salade Nicoise!

Next was the classic Salade Nicoise (i.e. from Nice). There are three types of salad: simple (one ingredient), mixed (many ingredients), and composed (many ingredients but presented separately). The Nicoise is an example of a composed salad. There are lots of elements (tuna, anchovy, boiled waxy potatoes, tomatoes emonder, sliced and peeled green peppers, boiled beans, hard boiled eggs, Boston lettuce, the Nicoise olives, and of course the white wine vinaigrette (3:1 classic oil to vinegar ratio). Almost every element is ‘vinaigretted’ separately, and then all combined. Miyako and I were on our game today, we were well organized, both multi tasking efficiently, and finishing early for most dishes. We’ve also developed a pretty good tasting regiment. I couldn’t get my vinaigrette to taste like Chefs’ for the longest time, we must have tasted and adjusted 15 times, but we got there.

 

 

Joe whipping up a frenzy, and a mayonnaise. Joe also works at the Mercer Grill. How he does both is incredible.
Joe whipping up a frenzy, and a mayonnaise. Joe also works at the Mercer Grill. How he does that and culinary school is incredible.

The third salad was a not-so-exciting Sweet & Bitter Greens salad. This consisted of 4 different leaves (romaine, radicchio, frisee, watercress), served alongside tomatoes, a sherry vinaigrette (5:1) ratio. Use the inside of the frisee (cool looking frizzy lettuce) – the outer deeper green leaves are too bitter. We learnt about the various types of vinegars and olive oils, and how they combine into vinaigrettes. Most chefs use a combination of oils, often 25% oilive, 75% canola. Using only olive oil is too….well….olivey….and using only Canola is a bit ….boring.

Got a ‘showing promise’ on my taillage homework. Monday is all potatoes, cooked 8 different ways. I’m looking forward to this, but then another exam. It’s relentless….. but fantastic.

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