The Secret Ingredient Restaurants Use To Make Your Salad Taste Good

Have you ever wondered why that salad at your favorite restaurant doesn't taste quite the same when you try to replicate it at home? To be fair, there is a chef at the restaurant who knows all the tricks of the culinary trade to make sure every bite of your salad has you licking the plate. But, honestly, how hard can it be, right? Wash your greens, throw some crunchy vegetables or seasonal fruits in the bowl, toss in a few pine nuts, add some oil and vinegar...but it just doesn't taste the same. Why? 

Think about this: You would never just throw meat on the grill without taking the care to marinate or season those rib eye steaks, so why would you forget to do the same with your salad greens and vegetables? This has to do with the secret restaurants are using to ensure your salad is crisp, colorful, and chock full of flavor to make your taste buds pop (via My Recipes).

This is secret to restaurant-quality salad

The one ingredient you need to use if you want a restaurant-quality salad is, quite simply, salt. This should come as no surprise to the etymologists of the world, as the word "salad" literally comes from a Latin word meaning "salted greens" (via Chicago Tribune). 

Historians believe that this word stems from a practice that dates back to ancient Rome — apparently, ancient Romans had a habit of dipping salad greens in salt. Eventually, this tradition evolved into using what we'd now call salad dressing, which at the time was a combination of olive oil, vinegar, and salt — otherwise what we'd call today a simple vinaigrette. 

If you're ready to start salting your salad, though, don't be tempted to dump in a random amount whenever and call it a day — the way you salt your salad definitely makes a difference in the end result.

How to successfully salt your salad

Chefs are always seasoning their foods as they prepare them, not just adding salt after the fact. And salad prep shouldn't be any different. Indeed, greens and vegetables need to be salted before any tossing even enters your mind.

Not convinced? Apparently, Bob Flay is a fan of this salad making ingredient. In an interview with Bon Appetit, Flay offered his sage salad making advice. "Season the greens and vegetables with salt and pepper before dressing them. It draws out their flavors," he recommends.

Here's another benefit of pre-salting and seasoning your salad greens: You won't need to drench it in salad dressing, which means fewer calories. But if you are still not sold on this method, try adding a bit of sea salt to your next salad to bring out the beautiful savory flavors and see if you can tell the difference (via Kitchn). You'll probably never look back.