To me, making a salad is like painting. It's a creation that's both composed and ad-hoc. There's layering involved. Balance. Thought. It's not hastily chopping up a bunch of stuff and dumping it into a bowl with no rhyme or reason. I've always believed that a great salad requires great care. How you cut the ingredients can completely change the nature of a salad. Here, the cucumbers are cut into matchsticks, the grape tomatoes are cut into round slices, and the red onion and avocado are sliced very thinly. There's no tossing involved, so this composition is purely guided by your eye and intuition.
2 cups of mesclun salad leaves
1/2 small kirby cucumber, cut into matchsticks
A few thin slices of red onion, cut into half-moons
1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
6 grape tomatoes, cut into small round slices
Cold leftover roast chicken, torn into shreds
Crumbled feta cheese
Citarella's tartar sauce, or another creamy dressing like ranch or blue cheese
Fresh dill, chives, tarragon, or chervil
Maldon sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1. Start with a large white dinner plate. This is your canvas. Prime the canvas with a generous layer of mesclun salad leaves. Make sure the leaves are clean and completely dry.
2. For a crunch factor, sprinkle the cucumber matchsticks over the salad.
3. Tear the cold roast chicken into shreds by hand and evenly distribute--the quantity will rely on your appetite!
4. Separate the rings of the onion slices and lightly scatter to add a nice kick and heat.
5. Drape the avocado slices gently around the plate.
6. Strategically place the grape tomato slices where a punch of red is needed.
7. Add the crumbled feta and small spoonfuls of your creamy dressing, here and there, being mindful of the balance of white splashes to the composition.
8. Pick off bits of the fresh herbs and decorate the plate.
9. Finish with a pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes and a shower of black pepper.
10. Cut into your masterpiece, fork-and-knife style, and mix it all up!