to remember a successful dinner;
at all events, the perfect dinner necessarily includes
the perfect salad.”
author of ‘Pleasures of the Table (1902)
To add some delight to your Thanksgiving meal, why not add a salad bar buffet to mix things up a bit?! Get together your favorite fresh vegetables, a few different types of lettuce, and some unexpected twists and you will have an exciting party waiting to happen!
To set up a buffet, set the plates at the beginning and the napkins and utensils at the end (unless they are already at the table) so that when your guests go through the line, they do not have to carry anything but their plate with them while they create their salad. Think of how you would put together a salad when arranging the toppings; larger items at the beginning and smaller ones at the end. It is nice to have a few different types of dressings available and some freshly cracked pepper. If you do not want to have bread at the table, put a basket at the end of the line with some easy to grab, sliced sourdough.
These are just some suggestions from a salad bar I created a few weeks ago. You can tailor your ingredients to go with the meal you are serving and add ingredients based on what is in season in your area.
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Romaine Lettuce
- Red Cabbage
- Heirloom Tomatoes
- Red Bell Peppers
- Roasted Beets (see below)
- Roasted Asparagus (see below)
- Hard Boiled Eggs (see below)
- Shredded Roasted Rosemary Chicken (see below)
- Champagne-Shallot Vinaigrette (see below)
Roasted Beets & Asparagus
In this recipe, the asparagus comes out very crispy and they end up becoming a green alternative to the crouton. Prepare the beets in a pouch of foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
To prepare the asparagus, take each stalk one at a time and gently bend it until the bottom part breaks off. Asparagus will naturally break off at the point where you do not want to eat. Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay on the same baking sheet as the beets. Roast at 350°F for 45 minutes.
I think that everyone has their own recipe for these. I remember when I went away for college and realized that I did not know how to boil eggs! I could make a chicken picatta but I did not know the proper way to boil an egg! I called my mother, this is what she told me and it has never failed me.
Place eggs in a pot with enough water to cover the tops of the eggs. Bring to a boil and let boil for about a minute. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit for 15 minutes. DO NOT uncover the pot! After 15 minutes, drain the water and carefully peel the eggs because they will be hot.
Super easy! Prepare chicken breasts as you normally would. Cut off a sprig of fresh rosemary for each breast and simply lay on top of each breast. If you are using chicken with the skin on, put the rosemary under the skin to allow the flavor to penetrate the meat. Roast on a pan at 350°F for about an hour.
Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette
Makes 1 Cup
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1/4 Cup of champagne vinegar
- 3/4 Cup of olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1. Pour the vinegar and salt into a bowl. Let the salt naturally disintegrate into the vinegar. The French say that this is the ONLY way to make a proper vinaigrette (at least according to the books I read).
2. Add the minced shallot and Dijon mustard. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking the vinegar. Add pepper to taste.
“He that sups upon salad, goes not to bed fasting”
English clergyman (1608-1661)