CRAB AND GO: This dungeness crab salad takes off with california avocado and citrus.
BANANA BLOSSOM SALAD: Chicken meets Asian pear; fried shallot rings add a crispy note.
America's fondness for the fresh, crisp flavors and textures of salads continues to evolve. On the following pages you'll note the variety of salad interpretations featuring today's most popular menu influences. In fact, it's a tour of the U.S. culinary landscape. Consider the Southwestern flavors of Chef Rigo Gutierrez's Field Greens with Tequila-BBQ Mexican Shrimp from Zocalo Grill in San Diego. From Victor Scargle of Go Fish in St. Helena, CA, comes the idea for Dungeness Crab Salad with California Avocado. The Armagnac and Orange-Scented Duckling Breast and Duckling Leg Salad with Frisee and Dried Plum Chutney comes from executive chef Kenneth Thompson of Evansville Country Club in Indiana. From the Pacific Northwest comes the Butter Lettuce Salad with Honey Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Ver Jus Honey Vinaigrette, a dish created by chef Alvin Binuya of Madoka in Bainbridge Island, WA.
The influence of grains is evident in recipes such as the Quinoa Salad with Mango Chunks and Curry Mango Dressing, the California Asparagus with Salmon and Lemony Orzo Salad and Chef Fred Manion's Turkey Tortilla Salad, served at Lennie's Brewpub in Bloomington, IN.
Simple solutions for salad menus include prepared dressings, salads and salad-enhancing toppings.
- According to the 2006 Restaurant HospitalityMenuTrak study of menu items offered in the past 12 months, category respondents in the Casual Dining/Theme Restaurant segment reported offering the following types of prepared salads: cole slaw, 84 percent; fruit salad, 55 percent and three-bean salad, approximately 29 percent.
- If you're wondering what some of the favorite salad styles are today, consider this flavor information from the Association for Dressings and Sauces. Here's the organization's most recent list of the most popular salad dressing flavors. In order, they are Blue Cheese, Ranch, Italian, French, Caesar, Thousand Island, Honey Dijon, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Poppyseed and Other Vinaigrettes (excluding red wine and olive oil vinaigrettes, which are a different category).
- Marie Callender's Chicken Waldorf-Stuffed Half Avocado salad was a 2006 summer salad promotion. The salad presentation, priced at $9.99, was enhanced by the combination of nuts, greens and fruits (including apples, dried cranberries, and raisins). Nick Saba is director of food and beverage for the 134 Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery units.
- The Banana Blossom Salad at Chef Chris Yeo's Straits Restaurant (with locations in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Burlingame) is an eye-catching take on Asian chicken salad. It features banana flower blossoms, although finely sliced green cabbage can be substituted as well.