Here’s the first thing you need to do to make a perfect salad: season your greens with salt.
Before you toss the salad with dressing, sprinkle a good pinch of salt—preferably quality sea salt—over the lettuce and other vegetables. Use your hands to gently fluff the greens to incorporate the salt.
It’s a step that most home cooks overlook when making salad. If you think of salt not as a flavor in itself but as an enhancer of other flavors, then you’ll understand how a few grains can completely transform even an ordinary salad. Plus, if your greens have flavor, you’ll need less dressing.
Speaking of which: Here’s how to dress a salad. Put your greens and vegetables in a big salad bowl. Season with salt and toss gently with your hands. Then drizzle a thin stream of dressing, just about a tablespoon, down the inside of your salad bowl so it settles in the bottom. Then toss the salad gently to distribute the dressing. (And here’s a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing recipe. Skip the icky store-bought stuff.
Dressing your salad from the bottom up keeps the lettuce from getting soggy and globby. You’ll use less dressing. And if you’ve seasoned your greens, you’ll have a perfectly flavorful salad, with less fat and calories.