Not all salads rely on greens as the main ingredient.
Club chefs are proving that life without lettuce is not only flavorful, but beautiful.
“Salads are evolving,” says Matthew O’Connor, CEC, Executive Chef of Bonnie Briar Country Club (BBCC) in Larchmont, N.Y., where 480 members dine on an ever-changing selection of lettuce-less salads. “It all comes down to quality ingredients that are well-composed and properly seasoned.”
One of the most successful lettuce-less salads on BBCC’s summer menu is a riff on a caprese. It features baby heirloom tomatoes sided by a tomato sorbet and local burrata, topped with a basil vinaigrette. According to O’Connor, it’s hugely popular.
“We try to focus on local ingredients wherever possible, and composed salads are a great way to highlight those products,” he notes.
Other favorites at the club include a fattoush salad served with grilled swordfish and pita; peaches that have been poached sous vide with honey and then wrapped in prociutto and served with a barrel-aged balsamic; and quinoa salad served with shaved organic vegetables, a lemon-mint vinaigrette and feta cheese.
“Texture is also really important with composed salads,” says O’Connor, who constantly reminds his cooks of the BBCC kitchen’s motto: “Simple and fresh.”
“When we introduced the swordfish and fattoush salad, one of the managers kept saying it wasn’t a salad and she didn’t think members would order it,” O’Connor reports. “We decided to give it a try, and members liked it so much that we added it to our regular menu.”
It continues to be a best-seller for BBCC.