Food, Home & Lifestyle

Preparing a Beautiful Salad

Alice Waters

Lesson time 09:55 min

Alice believes the making of a salad can bring as much joy as eating it. Learn Alice’s method for washing lettuces and follow her recipe for Mesclun Salad.

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Topics include: A French-Inspired Mesclun • Greens for Sautéeing • A Salad-Washing Ritual


When I was in France the first time, you go to the market and you'd see a big tablecloth almost, with a mix of salads about this high. And my friend Martine, would just take handfuls of that, she'd bring them home, and she made a dressing out of anchovies and garlic. And in that salad were things like this rocket. I have little tiny rocket that I have here, and chervil, which all of these have very strong distinctive tastes. It always had a little frisee in it, as well, sometimes dandelion greens. But it was the salad that the farmer just picked as he walked down the rows. And so, it could even have some red oak leaf in there. I think of it as a Chez Panisse mesclun salad because I brought so many seeds home from France that, at the beginning, I didn't know where I was going to plant them. And then, I had this idea, why don't I just turn the backyard of my house into a mesclun salad garden and we could really have the real salad at Chez Panisse. And I did that. It's a kind of salad that you can cut it, and then, it grows again. It's an intensive use of space. The amazing thing about cut-and-come-again lettuces is that you can harvest their leaves several times before they become tough or bitter. Then, there's this little speckled salad. Again, a European varietal that we started planting. And I now include that in my own personal mesclun mix and radishes. Sometimes, for the first course at the restaurant, we might have just a little bouquet of radishes and some butter, just like the French do, a little coarse salt. It's really great to have these secret things in the garden that children can plant. And when Fanny was a little girl, I used to plant fraise du bois, the wild strawberry, that has white and red berries. And I used to just hide them around the garden. And she would find them, and she's just eat out of the garden. We also made a bean tee pee. And the beans would grow up and it would make a little house. And she just would go inside this little house and pull the beans off and eat them raw. And it's amazing how children like raw vegetables when they can pick them themselves. It's all about their own empowerment and that they feel like they've found it. The last thing I have here are two kales, a Russian kale and a dinosaur kale. These kales, these little baby kales, are so easy to saute with a little garlic and olive oil. And I use them, mix them with a rice. It's not really enough to make a side dish for a lot of people coming to dinner, but it's enough for me to have for a couple of people, for a lovely lunch. And because it's so small and tender and delicious, it takes no time at all to cook. One of those very spontaneous, last minute things. I love to wash salad. I don't know why. I guess it's because I get to really look at all the lettuces and I get to mix the colors and I like to do it in the water. I'm going to show you the most romantic way to wash salad. It's not the way I always do, but it's the way that my Fre...

About the Instructor

Alice Waters started America’s farm-to-table revolution. When she founded the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, her local, organic ingredients sparked a movement and earned her the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. In her first-ever online cooking class, Alice opens the doors of her home kitchen to teach you how to pick seasonal ingredients, create healthy and beautiful meals, and change your life by changing the food you make at home.

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Alice Waters

In 16+ lessons, learn to cook beautiful, seasonal meals at home from the James Beard Award-winning founder of Chez Panisse.

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