Why Pepper Might Not Be The Best Seasoning For Green Salads

Ah, the wide, wonderful world of salads. Where would we be without these healthy, refreshing mixes of greens, herbs, veggies, and cheeses? Salads make a delicious accompaniment to almost any meal, bringing crunch, moisture, and lightness. They are incredibly versatile and come in an almost staggering array of variations, from the crouton-bedecked Caesar salad to the incredibly fresh cucumber-tomato salad to the light lentil-spinach salad. And, well, almost anything else you can throw together in a bowl and toss with dressing.

But the salad that most of us turn to on a frequent basis is a classic, goes-with-anything mixed greens salad. Pretty much anything green can go into a mixed greens salad, from lettuce to kale to arugula to escarole. And while the world of salad dressing is almost as vast as that of salads themselves — ranging from blue cheese to buttermilk to poppyseed and more — a simple vinaigrette is usually the best choice for mixed greens, according to The New York Times. And black pepper? That might be a no-go, too. Read on to find out why.

Black pepper is an extremely strong flavor

What's more perfect than a mixed green salad? Offering a variety of flavors and textures, this is a classic appetizer or side dish that we turn to repeatedly. Mixed green salads are also a favorite of culinary pros, making their way onto the menus from bars to fancy joints. But chefs and culinary professionals have strong opinions on how to dress and serve these salads.

At Wm. Mulherin's Sons, an Italian restaurant located in a former whiskey blending plant in Philadelphia, culinary director Jim Burke likes to use a varied mix of lettuces. And, according to The New York Times, he favors a simple vinaigrette that complements the differing tastes found within each green. This dressing is made of lemon juice, roasted garlic, olive oil, salt, and nothing more. And when it comes to black pepper, a spice most of us use in the kitchen with abandon? Burke says no thanks.

"Pepper I don't use freely," he told the paper. "I think a lot of restaurants do that, where you have salt and previously ground pepper right next to each other all the time. But pepper is an extraordinarily assertive flavor. It doesn't have a place in everything, especially with delicate leaves." So there you have it: Black pepper might overwhelm the subtle flavors in your tender greens. So next time, try mixing a salad without it, and see how you like it.