Ask Karen – How to Make Crisp Salad

Garden Lettuce

Garden LettuceRecently an attendee at one of our Taste of Home Cooking Schools asked me a question. She wondered, “How do restaurants get the lettuce for their salads so crisp?” Great question. I wanted to share my answer with all of you.

Several years ago I worked alongside a food stylist who was doing a photo shoot for a magazine spread. I did all of her grocery shopping and prepped the ingredients for the recipes, which happened to be salads. Along the way, I learned several tips about making greens look pretty and taste crisp.

Before preparing the salads I submerged the greens in ice cold water in a large bowl. As greens sit in the grocery store, they can lose moisture, which eventually makes them limp. Soaking them in ice cold water for 15 or 20 minutes helps rehydrate them. 

From there, I drained off the water and placed the greens in a salad spinner. I used the spinner until the excess moisture drained away. If you don’t have a salad spinner, shake off the excess moisture and pat the greens with paper towels.

Salad spinnerlettuce knife


Then, I place the leaves in a large plastic storage bag, sealed it, and refrigerated the lettuce until we needed it for the recipes. Before serving, I either tore the leaves into pieces or used a lettuce knife to cut the greens. The salads were crisp, delicious, and pretty.

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