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What is on my salad?

  • k

While out in Brooklyn today my husband and I stopped for lunch at a Cafe called Scaramouche. The food was great and we had a fanstastic time but I cannot identify what was on my salad. I asked the man behind the counter, "do you know what is on the salad" He smiled and said "I absolutely do but I cannot tell you. It is our secret recipe"

OK, lovely mixed greens - not bitter at all, at first glance I thought "Oh no, dry greens" but they weren't completely dry. They were not oily, either, but there was some bit of wetness. I didn't taste vinegar (although my husband thinks he did), there was no outstanding oily flavor, there was a lovely taste of salt, not too strong, but absolutely on every leaf. I looked and there was no salt sticking to the leaves. Nothing pooled under the leaves and absolutely no dripping. The leaves that did seem a bit wet, I could find no color to the wetness at all.

The taste was very light, pleasantly salty and really nothing else. What could be so secret? Any ideas? I'd love to do this at home, it just seemed so darned simple and the perfect accompaniment to my Perulian eggs (eggs benedict with avocado and sweet ham).

Link: http://www.ibrooklyn.com/site/newseve...

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  1. I'll play....Could it have been lemon juice?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      No, but thanks. Nothing tart. Unless it was so light that I didn't notice and melded into whatever other flavors where there.

    2. Any chance they rinse the leaves in salt water?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Jacquilynne

        Yeah, I was thinking that they may pre-soak the greens in a salt and vinegar solution and then spin to semi-dry right before serving. I guess it would make it a "brined" salad, which sounds like a nifty idea.

        1. re: Carb Lover

          I'm continuing my "no mystery food" campaign. A brined salad would NOT be a nifty idea for a person with sodium-sensitive hyptertension---it could send the blood pressure through the roof. Let's have some truth in advertising here.

          1. re: N Tocus

            I understand what you're saying, but my "brined" idea was just a wild guess. And "brined" could mean sitting in a salt, vinegar, and water solution for 15 min. before being rinsed. Many mid-range restaurants salt their vinaigrette AND salad greens, so a light salt and vinegar solution wouldn't infuse anymore sodium than that I'd think.

            If someone was really watching their salt intake, I would think they'd be able to at least screen for such issues in the dish they order. I'm of the philosophy that when I need to seriously watch what I eat, I will eat mostly at home or at known entities. Food out is always a gamble in many ways. There's hidden salt and fat (among other things) everywhere out there.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I'm with you. I have food allergies so I ask FIRST, not after. And if someone said to the server - "I can't have salt" then presumably they would steer you away from the salad. I've been to several restaurants that won't give away secrets and I'm not bothered by it because I know what to avoid. If someone was avoiding salt, surely they would ask beforehand what is on a salad (since they didn't offer a dressing choice). But this is all another topic entirely.....and one I'm sure a chowhound minion will soon tell us to move to the 'not about food' board.

              1. re: krissywats

                You guessed it- please move over to the Not About Food board to discuss this topic in further detail. Thanks.

        2. re: Jacquilynne

          The 'brined' idea seems to be a good one from the flavoring point of view, but wouldn't there be pretty rapid wilting of the greens?

        3. I'm gonna bet on Vietnamese fish sauce, the light kind. It's almost ethereal...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            I don't think Vietnamese fish sauce has ever been accused of being ethereal.

            1. re: Scagnetti

              There are varying degrees of intensity available. The stuff I was given a bowl of to pour on my Bun the other night was as light-flavored as the sweetest mirin. Absolutely lovely.

              1. re: Scagnetti

                try phu quac(region). yes its very light on the tongue.

            2. Krissy, If you pour salt on a slug, they become rather gelatenuous shortly thereafter. Perhaps Scaramouge has mastered the timing of this and are using this knowledge accordingly. Certainly this would be of help to Vegans that lack protein in their diet and to transients balancing their quest for the 4 food groups.

              1. Wait a minute. He served you food and wouldn't tell you what it was? Suppose it had an ingredient to which you are allergic? With respect to a business' right to protect a trade secret, I have a problem with "I am feeding you mystery food". I would NEVER do that to a guest and wouldn't accept such secrecy in a restaurant.

                1 Reply
                1. re: N Tocus

                  Calm down already. If she said she was allergic to anything I'm sure he would have told her. They just have a secret house recipe and don't want everyone to copy them, is all.

                2. it could be seasoned rice vinegar or mirin. low acidity with sweetness and salt.

                  1. Ume plum vinegar. Very salty, not particularly acidic tasting and a little goes a long way, so you might not detect much wetness. But at Scaramouche...?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Karl

                      Is that particularly hard to believe?(And have you been there and had their salads?) Do you have any other ideas? I've never heard of that kind of vinegar so this is a new wrinkle on my horn (that phrase, ladies and gentleman, was me channeling my father).

                      1. re: krissywats

                        Ume vinegar is GREAT. Love the stuff. Good for you, too (in moderation).

                    2. I read and re-read your post and the following responses. Just a thought, but could it be a light dressing of capers that were processed into a light dressing? That would give the slightly salty taste....or the liquid from the capers? Just a thought.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: littlerock

                        Hmmm. AFter reading a bit about it I'm leaning towards the ume vinegar (seems it is typically used in salad dressings anyway and has a very light fruity flavor which would account for the greens not tasting bitter at all).

                        But now you've given me something to think about. If it WAS from capers, it would have to be just the brine because there were absolutely no particles of any kind on the leaves. And I'd think that the tart caper taste would come through too, but I'm not sure. I may have to experiment a few times until I get an exact replication.