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Salads : Salad Shortcuts

July 05, 1991|ABBY MANDEL

Salads are far easier to make than most cooks expect. Here are some shortcuts:

* Since rice, grains and pasta freeze well, always cook more than you need. Be sure to rinse them under cold water, drain and then toss well with a very small amount of oil (about one teaspoon oil to two cups cooked rice, grains or pasta) to keep the small particles from sticking together (the oil can be rinsed off before using). Freeze in convenient-size portions in plastic zipper lock bags.

* Keep greens washed, spun dry and refrigerated, wrapped in paper towels and secured airtight in a twist-tied plastic bag. Greens will stay crisp and last up to five days.

* When leftover poultry or meats are not in the refrigerator, buy small quantities of your choice and cook them quickly for salads. Boned, skinned chicken breasts and pre-sliced turkey breast or tenderloin (both can now be bought that way) cook quickly, once seasoned, in an oil-sprayed non-stick skillet (or they can be poached in chicken or beef broth, respectively).

* Green onions, carrots and celery make salads more colorful, more flavorful and crunchier. Properly stored, they will keep well in the refrigerator for long periods of time. Pat green onions dry, then wrap them in paper towels. Store the celery and carrots in plastic bags. Keep them all in a storage drawer.

* Fresh herbs are very perishable, so buy them as close as possible to the time you will use them. No matter the mix, they enliven most salads.

* Invest in a good pepper-grinder; freshly ground pepper is the easiest salad enhancement of all.

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