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~ The Cool History behind the Composed Chef Salad ~

IMG_2221A restaurant that serves a great chef's salad for lunch is a restaurant I will frequent.  Like Seinfeld's Elaine, I like a big salad, and I don't mean a big bowl of lettuce.  I mean a lot of perfectly-cooked good stuff in it, right down to more-than-a-few crunchy, buttery-rich croutons on top.  The chef's salad is exactly that salad -- it's not served before the meal or after the meal, it is the meal.  The chef salad is a "composed salad", meaning, it is a pretty-to-look-at, arranged-on-a-plate, high-quality, salad -- a perfectly-balanced mixture of color, flavor and texture.  At the discretion of the chef, one or a combination of impeccably-fresh and perfectly-cooked proteinss (via poaching, simmering, boiling, marinating, roasting, broiling, baking, grilling, etc.) get carefully-selected and meticulously sliced, diced or minced, pulled, julienned or chiffonade.

The chef salad = an artfully composed salad full of carefully-selected, impeccably-fresh, high-quality ingredients.  

IMG_2218Historically, the chef salad was the precursor to a 17th Century protein-packed meal called salmagundi.  It consisted of cooked meat, poultry or fish, various cheeses, fresh, blanched or marinated vegetables, cooked eggs and/or toasted nuts or seeds, served on a bed of greens with a vinaigrette.  Although historians are unclear as to the recipe origin of the salad, they generally agree that is was popularized when Chef Louis Diat of The Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York City put his protein-packed version of it on the menu in the 1940's, which included julienne strips of turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, wedges of hard-cooked egg and a creamy salad dressing.

Try my version of my favorite smoked-turkey chef's salad:

IMG_2220Or, try my Buffalo-chicken chef w/RedHot Ranch & Croutons:

6a0120a8551282970b02788035b72e200dAnd it's always the right time to enjoy a classic hoagie chef:

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09dd9d66970d-800wiCheck out The Cool History behind the Composed Cobb Salad:

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d28e7ab9970c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)


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