It’s summertime and that means lots of salad options on menus.
"One of our most popular concepts is called Salads by Design. It’s a made-to-order salad station in Jansens Hall (an all-you-can-to-eat board plan operation), where students choose from 40 different items and have salads made fresh for them. Students like the perceived freshness and the station adds a certain upscale cache to our foodservice offerings.
"Lettuce options include mesclun, bibb, romaine, green leaf, spinach, watercress, red leaf and radicchio. In addition to standard salad mix-ins, we also offer on a rotating basis smoked seafood (salmon, shrimp, scallops, oysters), marinated and fried tofu (cubed), anchovies, capers, Greek and Kalamata olives, snow peas, and dried fruit (apricots, cherries). As for dressings, again, we offer the standards (pre-made), but we also rotate in freshly-prepared dressings, including guava and a lemon caper dressing."
Executive Sous Chef
Nationwide Arena (Sportservice)
"Our customers like hearty salads, and one of the most popular ones we serve is a fried Cajun chicken salad. We start by marinating the chicken strips in buttermilk, then we coat them with a flour/Cajun spice mixture and deep fry them. When the chicken has cooled, we cut it into bite-size pieces, mix it with mayonnaise, red onion and tri-colored peppers, and serve it on top of chopped romaine lettuce."
Chef Paul Carr, C.E.C. & Lynne Sundblad
Culinary Program Development Managers
Aramark Culinary Solutions
"We recently developed a new Caesar salad promotion that incorporates four of the biggest flavor trends in casual dining; barbecue, ranch, Cajun and Caesar. The program includes eight different Caesar salads, each with its own dressing.
"As we were developing the dressings, we concentrated on keeping the creaminess of traditional Caesar dressing, but we used a ranch dressing base because it’s easier to infuse additional flavors and seasonings into it. All of the dressings have a bold flavor profile to satisfy customers’ demands for full-flavored foods.
"Also, we tried to incorporate different textures into the salad varieties to provide good mouthfeel. The fried Cajun chicken salad recipe is a good example. It features chicken breast strips that are coated in a chili powder/cumin breading and then deep fried. We serve that with an ancho chili/lime dressing.
"Of course, traditional Caesar salad is served with croutons, but we found that customers get frustrated chasing the croutons around on the plates, so for this promotion, we developed an asiago cheese/peppercorn bruschetta-style crouton, that can be picked up and eaten by hand, along with the salads."
Walter Thurnhofer, R.D.,L.D.
Director of Hospitality Services
Adventist Medical Center
"In our Garden Café (main cafeteria), we offer eight to 10 fresh fruit and other salads each day, in addition to our main salad bar which includes lots of toppings and dressings. Our menu is completely vegetarian, so we do use soy products in a few salads as meat alternatives.
"While we offer a variety of salads, I’ve found that many customers still prefer familiar ones, like traditional potato salad. Those people who travel more extensively are looking for salads that incorporate items like whole grains, marinated vegetables and tropical fresh fruits."
San Jose State University,
San Jose, CA
"I created our Plum Crazy Wide Rice Salad as a variation of a cold rice salad we served on our salad bar and as a way to incorporate seasonal fruits. The new salad has a sweet and savory profile with fresh plums, olives, red and yellow pepper, Jasmine and wild rice, along with a spicy dressing. It’s very popular with customers who are counting calories and with our Asian students."
Marketplace Deli Unit Leader
University of San Diego
"We ran a pasta salad promotion during this spring semester in our deli operation. We served a new pasta salad each day and offered free samples. Some of the salads featured included Spicy Bow-Tie, Broccoli Tortellini, Macaroni Salad Carbonara and Tantalizing Tuna."
Liberate Technologies (Bon Appetit)
San Carlos , CA
"The Grilled Stone Fruit salad I developed really capitalizes on the natural sugars found in stone fruits, like peaches and nectarines, and in figs. When you grill them, those sugars caramelize and produce a wonderful sweet flavor.
"I got the idea for this salad one day last summer while I was walking through our local farmers market. The fresh fruit smelled so good that I wanted to find a way to incorporate fresh fruit at its peak into our menu. I also enjoy preparing foods with fresh cheese, so I added fresh goat cheese to this salad, which is slightly salty and creamy and contrasts well with the sweetness of the fruit, and finished it off with balsamic glaze which pulls all of the flavors together. I only serve this salad in July and August, when the fruit is in season. As an entrée, it sells for $5.95."