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Ah, salads. If you’ve been coming here for a while you probably know that salads are not my thing. I think my body is just not used to all the healthiness of raw greens and the absence of butter and cream so whenever there is a salad on offer my automatic reaction is to skip it. This salad here, however, is an exception; it’s the kind you get as an appetizer at a sushi bar and I actually like it (gasp!).
The dressing is flavorful and creamy but the main attraction is a topping of crispy shallots. The shallots are deep fried and even though they are easy to make they do require your undivided attention. You’ve got to watch and stir them constantly to make sure that they brown evenly and you have to take them out when they turn a light caramel color, if you let them get too dark they will turn horrendously bitter. Other than that everything is straightforward. I suggest you serve this salad as an appetizer with a cup of hot sake or tea.
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds (more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ⅛ teaspoon rice vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon soy sauce
- lettuce greens, such as romaine or red leaf and shredded red cabbage
- Heat the oil until shimmering.
- Add the shallots to the oil and fry until they are light brown. Stir them constantly to ensure that they brown evenly. (Don't let them get too dark or they'll become very bitter).
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots onto a paper towel and set aside.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
- Toss the lettuce and cabbage with the dressing and sprinkle with the crispy shallots and sesame seeds.
Food Photography and Styling: I found this purple napkin in my fabric box the other day and thought I could try it out as a surface for this shot. It’s a bit flashy maybe but overall I still actually liked it with all the black Asian props and the colors of the salad. I observed the rule of thirds (at least approximately) here and let the crease in the napkin run down ones of the lines that divides the frame into thirds. As usual, I lit this photo with my strobe.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight.