Some food pundits have announced that it is the summer of the perfect pasta salad. While that classic side dish has been a staple at a barbecue, weeknight dinner, or summer gathering, not all pasta salads are worthy of the superlative label. Luckily, hacking that food recipe does not require a chef coat.
Pasta salad can come in many forms. While the mayonnaise-based options can be creamy, they might not be the best choice in the summer heat. It is vital for those types of salads to remain chilled.
Instead, many people opt for a vinaigrette-based pasta salad during the warmer months. The flavor is often bright and easily pairs with many other main dishes. From burgers to barbecue, the flavor can help cut through the richness.
While there are many recipes, the perfect pasta salad has a simple, easy to follow ratio. Basically, it is a pasta, fresh herbs, a protein, three vegetables, a crumble cheese and Grey Poupon vinaigrette. While some people omit the protein and use the salad as a side dish, it can go either way.
Since the recipe is fairly straight forward, it is important to focus on the best ingredients. A small pasta is important so that all the ingredients have similar sizes. A long noodle with small vegetables does not make for eating enjoyment.
Seasonal, fresh vegetables are also important. The local farmer’s market can offer a bounty of produce. Also, it is equally important to use fresh herbs to enhance the overall flavor.
In addition to the core ingredients, the dressing is vital to bringing together all the components. There needs to be some brightness to the vinaigrette, but it should also have depth and balance. A touch of sweetness with a little spice can be a great combination.
For example, Grey Poupon suggests its mustard because its smooth texture can easily incorporate with the other ingredients. Combined with the pepper notes and punch of acid, it invites bite after bite. With a touch of sweetness at the finish, it creates eating satisfaction.
When dressing the salad, consider all the ingredients. Options like tomatoes, watermelon, or other high moisture ingredients may need less dressing. No one wants the dish to be swimming in liquid.
Overall, hacking the perfect pasta salad is simple. Remember the ratios, bring the flavor, and focus on fresh ingredients. The ingredients can vary, but the eating enjoyment will always be front and center.