Salad seasoning is a dry mix of herbs or seeds sprinkled on a salad to add depth of flavor. It is best suited to salads with a mild or minimal amount of light dressing, especially a vinaigrette; added to a salad with a heavy cream-based dressing may obscure the flavor of the seasoning. Salad seasoning can be customized to the preference of the diner or the flavor profile of the salad recipe.
The most common ingredients in salad seasoning are dry herbs. Dry herbs are easy to find, are not subject to seasonal availability and shake or sprinkle easily. Oregano, parsley and basil are standard components. Herbs blend into salads well since they are leaf-based like lettuce and other salad foundations. Dried herbs have the added benefit of already being minced small enough for a seasoning blend, so they require no extra preparation.
Fresh herbs work well in salad seasoning blends, too, but require more preparation than dried herbs. Fresh herbs must be minced finely so they are easy to shake or sprinkle onto the salad. Since the leaves are still moist, they may clump together even after mincing. A blend that features fresh herbs should also have a couple of dry ingredients to facilitate even distribution.
Salad seasonings also feature spices for a flavorful accent. Since spices have such strong flavors, a little goes a long way and only one or two or added. Garlic powder and onion powder are common ingredients. Spices that contribute heat to the blend are also standard components. Cayenne pepper and paprika are well-suited to this type of recipe.
Seeds not only impart flavor into a seasoning mix, but provide much needed texture, as well. They can be beneficial counterparts to fresh herbs, balancing out the moisture of the minced leaves so that the mix distributes easily and evenly. Poppy seeds, celery seeds and sesame seeds are often featured in these blends.
Grated cheese is another customary component. The two commonplace hard Italian cheeses Parmesan and Romano are often included in seasoning blend recipes. Most cheeses would be too moist to mix with dry ingredients, but these two are not. Also, their flavors are strong enough to strike a balance with spices and herbs.
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