How to toss up a picture-perfect salad every time.
Frisee, Bacon, and Goat-Cheese Salad
Credit: Melanie Acevedo

1. Clean and dry greens well. The best way to do this is to break out your salad spinner and use this technique: Fill it with cold water, add greens to the basket (figure on 1½ cups of greens per person for a first course or a side salad), and swish around. Lift out the basket (and greens), dump the water, and repeat until the water is grit-free. Spin the greens until thoroughly dry (in batches, if necessary). Excess moisture dilutes the dressing.

2. Dress greens just before serving. Do it too soon and the leaves will wilt. Toss in just a little dressing at a time (if you’re using homemade and it has solidified in the refrigerator, run the jar under hot water before pouring it in). The greens should be nicely coated. If the dressing is pooling in the bowl, you’ve gone too far.

3. Add delicate ingredients last. Place items like sliced avocado and hard-boiled eggs gently on top of a dressed salad. If tossed, they may fall apart.